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Rio 2016: Spain vs. United States Men's Basketball Semifinal Preview

In a rematch of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic men’s basketball gold medal games, the United States and Spain will square off on the hardwood with the right to head back to the finals on the line.

Shark Bites
  • Spain has never beaten the United States in Summer Olympic play.
  • U.S.A. has the advantage in points in the paint (40) over Spain (33.3).
  • Spain's bench needs to step up. The unit is averaging 29.8 points per game, well behind the United States' 43.8.

The Americans, who opened as 15.5-point favorites, are coming off a dominant win over Argentina in the quarterfinals. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Mike Krzyzewski’s team, but they’re starting to peak at the right time.

Spain also stumbled out of the gate in round-robin play but easily dispatched France in their last appearance. After losing to Croatia and Brazil to start the tournament, Spain has a +30 average margin of victory in their last four tilts.

Containing the combination of Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic is going to be key for the United States. Gasol is leading the team in scoring at 17 points per game thanks to 56.3 percent shooting from downtown. Mirotic erupted against France, pouring in 23 points in his best effort of the Olympics.

Despite their records, these teams are extremely close on the stat sheet. Both squads are shooting 55 percent on two-pointers and are only .04 percentage points apart on threes (37.7 for Spain and 38.1 for U.S.A.). It’s the same story for total rebounds (39.2 for Spain/42.8 U.S.A.) and free throws (74.8 percent Spain/76.5 percent U.S.A.).

The OVER/UNDER of 187.5 will generate significant interest at sportsbooks. Both teams are rolling offensively right now, and I don’t see that slowing down in the semifinals. Neither side has scored below 90 points in a game since Spain’s meagre 65-point effort against Brazil on August 9.

For a preview of the other semifinal game, visit our Australia-Serbia page here.

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