It is a year of firsts for a pair of African basketball teams in the Olympics, Angola and Tunisia. Yesterday, the United States women dominated an over-matched Angola squad. It was a 90-38 demolition that wasn't even all that much fun to watch. Combined, the two teams shot 4 of 35 from three and combined for another 35 turnovers. It was an ugly game where the supremely talented US team just overpowered lowly Angola.
Of note, however, is that LSU is represented on the United States women's team. Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles, known for ushering in a run of 5 straight Final Four's for LSU, are now seeking their second gold medal. It would certainly be quite an achievement for LSU basketball to have a player like Augustus win a WNBA title, multiple gold medals, and to go to multiple Final Fours. Up next on Wednesday is a game against Turkey.
Meanwhile, the men had a very similar game against Tunisia Tuesday night with a 110-63 win. Kevin Love and Kevin Durant led the way with a combined 29 point 16 rebound game. Forward Carmelo Anthony added 16 points with a perfect shooting night.
Really, there's not all that much to take from the game other than that the US won a game in dominating fashion like they should have. What is interesting is a comment by Kobe Bryant last night. When asked about the US being "beatable", Kobe agreed with the assessment, which seems to be the opposite of what you would think he would say after making comments about being as good as the Dream Teams.
I think that kind of highlights one part of modern Olympic basketball, these guys are all professionals. They know how to motivate themselves, they know how to stay focused, and they know how to both generate and eliminate controversy. Being a professional, in my opinion, will only make it more difficult for teams to beat the US. While a college team may not be used to facing adversity, professionals have played in all circumstances at one time in their career. Bad luck likely won't be a factor. Instead, it's going to take an efficent, well coached team to beat the US.
Up next for the men is another African team, Nigeria, on Thursday. Nigeria will likely put up a better fight, but in all likelihood it will be another 30 or 40 point win for the United States.