FIBA World Cup – Italy vs USA

Probably the least uncertain quarter-final because anything other than a victory for the USA would be a huge surprise. However, this year’s World Cup has shown us that favorites can stumble, and that’s exactly what the United States experienced in their previous match against Lithuania. Nevertheless, the Americans will be eager to set things right and show the world that they are still the top contenders for the title. Motivation is not lacking for the Italians either, as playing against NBA stars is always the biggest motivation.

Italy and the USA have met twice at World Championships before. The first time was in 1998 when the Americans, in a significantly weaker lineup than possible, triumphed 80-77. The second game was played in 2006, and that time, a much stronger USA team won 94-85. Tomorrow, it’s the strongest Italy versus a strong, but not the strongest USA. For Italy to have a chance in this matchup, all their assets will need to perform, starting with Simone Fontecchio, who is their leading scorer with 18.4 points per game. He will need to replicate his performance against Serbia when he scored 30 points. Next in line is Marco Spissu, the leader of Italy’s long-range shooting, which will need to be on point tomorrow. However, it seems that the Italians will be able to play as much as their opponent allows. And if they are allowed, Italians are masters at capitalizing on every opportunity.

Anthony Edwards has emerged as the leader of the USA in the previous games. With 20.2 points, he has made the most significant contribution to the American average of 101.4 points per game. Italians score 80.8 points per game, making them the weakest of all quarter-finalists in that regard. Where Italy is better is in turnovers. They lose an average of 10.4 balls per game, while the Americans are at 13.2. Italians play rationally and patiently, and that’s their biggest chance. Italians are also better in rebounds, 39.2 compared to 39. In all other aspects (steals, assists, blocks, shooting percentages), the Yankees are better. Italians struggled against Puerto Rico and Angola, were defeated by the Dominican Republic, and defeated Serbia. If the Americans don’t repeat the mistakes of the Serbian national team, their victory is certain. They also had their struggles with Montenegro, were defeated by Lithuania, but it seems that these two teams are currently of higher quality than Italy.

Italian basketball is patient and rational, but anything other than a victory for the USA would be a miracle.

written by: Mladen Radosavljevic