Team USA Men's Basketball breezed through their last game with Tunisia with a 110-63 win and didn't really struggle in their opening game either, a 98-71 victory over France. Looking ahead, things aren't getting much harder.
Next up is Nigeria on Thursday in a game scheduled for 5:15pm eastern time. The Nigerians are ranked at #21 in the world and boast just one NBA talent and not even a particularly notable one, Al-Farouq Aminu of the Hornets. The US will be heavy favorites in that matchup. For comparison, the US have earned 852 points in the FIBA ranking system used to rank teams around the world. Nigeria, meanwhile, has 67.6.
Things will get marginally tougher on Saturday when the US faces #5 ranked Lithuania. Now, #5 may seem like a high ranking... but consider this, as we mentioned previously the US have earned 852 ranking points in international play, while Lithuania, ranked at #5, have 426. So that's about half.
Still, the Lithuanians have played together and represent a decent test. Their best player is likelyNBA-bound Jonas Valanciunas, a 7 footer who was a first round pick of the Toronto Raptors. A big game from him could pose some problems for the somewhat height challenged US, especially if Tyson Chandler got in some foul trouble. Lithuania also boasts former Sixer Darius Songaila. Did I say "boasts?" More like, "has."
That game is schedule for 9:30am eastern time.
The US will then wrap up group play with by far their toughest test yet, Argentina. The Manu Ginobli led squad is the first to ever beat a US team made up of NBA players. However, that happened back in 2002 and involved almost entirely different squads. The US will still be big favorites, but Argentina are the biggest medal threat to the US outside of Spain.
That game will take place at 5:15pm eastern time on Monday, August 6th.