Team USA Men's Basketball faces what will likely be its least difficult test when it takes on Tunisia today at 5:15pm eastern time on NBC Sports Network. The game can also be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com. It's a late start in London time, but its pretty watchable for us stateside. Unfortunately though, it probably won't be much of a contest to see.
Tunisia is ranked 32nd in the world by FIBA, the lowest of all teams in the competition. They lost their opening game to Nigeria and boast no NBA players in their squad. Center Salah Mejri did play for Utah Jazz summer leauge team, but that's about as close as they get.
The game will likely be a chance for guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant to get a breather while the likes of Andre Iguodala, James Harden & Anthony Davis get extended minutes. However great the talent gap between the US and Tunisia is, coach Mike Krzyzewski won't let his squad get complacent.
"You have a performance to give, you know," said Krzyzewski. "Are you doing it on a Wednesday matinee, a Saturday night? It's not who you're playing. You should never judge how you're going to perform or potentially who you're going to play against. You are the person performing, your team is performing. You never want to get into the habit of just getting by, because eventually you don't get by. Our goal tomorrow is to make sure we play hard and have good habits and we're as sharp as can be."
The sentiment was echoed by LeBron James who said,
"We're not going to let our guard down no matter who we're playing against. We can't waste a minute going backwards. We have high goals."
While the US could probably win by 20 just showing up for this one, there are still things that need working on. They struggled early on from 3pt range as shooters had trouble adjusting to the temporary arena. The team was also called for 23 fouls, so clearly they need to get a little more used to international officiating. Much tougher tests lie ahead with a matchup against Argentina only 6 days away.