Americans set to open one-and-done round against Australia

August 25th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Americans set to open one-and-done round against Australia

The USA completed pool play in the FIBA World Championships with an easy 103-58 victory against winless Senegal on Thursday, but all of the patsies are in the past now as the preliminaries are over.

FIRST ROUND ENDS: U.S hammers Senegal
Sixteen teams are left in what is now a single-elimination tournament in Saitama, Japan. First up for the USA is Australia, which finished fourth in its pool.

"It's the medal round," said Dwyane Wade, the USA's leading scorer in the tournament (21.3 points). "Everyone is good. We've got to come in and prepare for them like we've been doing every other game and take it from there."

The USA is in the same half of the draw as one of the other four remaining undefeated teams, Greece (5-0), while the two other world powers Argentina, the defending Olympic champion, and Spain are on the other side of the draw. Those two are on course to meet in the semifinal round.
Wade was held out of Thursday's game with a sore wrist, but he is expected to play Sunday against Australia.

"I'm going to have to explain that to all of our players that it's 'one-and-done' and this is not a seven-game NBA series," said coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We have to be ready for each ballgame."

The only scare the USA had in pool play was against Italy when the Americans had to come from behind in the second half in a 94-85 win.
"The Australians have a pretty good team," LeBron James said. "I haven't seen them play, but we will be watching video. We did play against them in 2004, and they play hard. It will be good for us, a good test."

James is the only player to start all five games as Krzyzewski mixed and matched lineups.

Wade came off the bench the first four games before being held out against Senegal.

"It's something I wanted," said Wade, who along with James and Carmelo Anthony, is a team captain. "Of course, Coach can start me at any time with these guys. But, with me coming off the bench, it gives us another dimension, and I love it."

The surprises of the preliminary round are that both Puerto Rico and Brazil failed to advance.

At stake is an automatic berth into the Beijing Olympics in 2008. China, which has the only other automatic Olympic spot as the host country, made it to the next round by finishing fourth in its Group D, the same group as the USA. China is led by Yao Ming, who is averaging a tournament-high 28.4 points a game.

The two most impressive teams, however, have been Argentina and Spain.
Argentina is led by Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, Andres Nocioni of the Chicago Bulls and Luis Scola of Tau Ceramica Victoria in the Spanish League.

Spain is led by 7-1 center Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 21.4 points and shooting 68.8%, guards Jose Calderon of the Toronto Raptors and Juan-Carlos Navarro of Winterthur Barcelona in the Spanish League and power forward Jorge Garbajosa, who just signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Raptors.

"There are no illusions that this is going to be an easy round," said USA forward Shane Battier." We all know and understand what is ahead of us."