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World Cup Open Thread: Saturday Recap, Sunday Preview

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It's hard not to be excited about the FIBA World Cup. Group play began yesterday. Here's what happened, as well as the schedule for games to be played on Sunday. (Sorry, I couldn't watch all of the games. I did my best)

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

First, here are the recaps.

Group A

Serbia defeats Egypt, 85-64.

In his World Cup Preview, RBE states Egypt's recent success is remarkable because the political instability in the country has caused some key players to temporarily retire from the team. Egyptian socionomics are unbeknownst to me, although a brief Google search revealed this column by Mohammed Nosseir describes his homeland as one that is searching for an identity. This East African nation and its basketball players who represent it during international competitions seem to be enduring many changes.

Egypt qualified for the World Cup after a remarkable run in the Tournament of Africas. This was inspired mostly by the play of Assem Marei, the leading rebounder of the tournament who received All-Tournament team honors.

Assem (pronounced 'awesome') Marei is from Cairo and entering his senior season at Mankato State University. He started in 32 games as a Junior, averaging 16 points points per game (a team high) on 59 percent shooting from the field. Marei also collected eight rebounds per game and received First Team All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference honors as well as a Division II Bulletin All-American Honorable Mention thanks to his production. Unfortunately, he is still recovering from a knee surgery and was unable to play against on Saturday.

The Egyptians certainly could have used Marei's services against the talented and experienced Serbs, who controlled the tempo throughout the game. Milos Teodosic led the way with 15 points. Bogdan Bogdanovic provided a solid all-around effort (three points, a +/- of +15, four rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal) on both ends of the floor. Egypt was simply overmatched. Most players on the roster are young, though (eight players are under age 27) and the future only seems to be getting brighter for them.

Brazil defeats France, 65-63.

Without Tony Parker, Nando De Colo and Alexis Ajinca, France struggled to score during the second quarter and trailed Brazil by two-points at the half. The reigning Eurobasket champions -- although they were without the aforementioned key performers -- kept pace with the Brazilians throughout the game, although, stagnancy on the offensive end ultimately prevented France from escaping with the victory.

Anderson Varejao and NeNe Hilario were proverbial monsters on the glass. These two collected 17 of Brazil's 42 rebounds while Marcelinho Huertas (Barcelona) led Brazil in scoring (16) and assists (5).

Spain defeats Iran, 90-60.

I was unable to witness this game, but, yesterday, comments made on this website claimed Iran was playing 'too rough'. Looking at the box score, two Iranian players committed a total of nine fouls in matter of only 15 minutes. Iran (24) also doubled Spain's (12) foul total.

Ricky Rubio scored three points -- he was one of four shooting from the field -- and connected on only one of six attempts from the free throw line. Moreover, Rubio tallied nine rebounds and dished out five assists. Did the apparent, and arguably unnecessary, physicality of the Iranian players induce such a bizarro statline? You guys will have to tell me.

Pau Gasol led the way for the Spaniards with 33. His brother Marc added 15. The game may have been physical, but, I assume the result was never really in question.

Group B

Croatia defeats the Philippines, 81-78.

Andray Blatche led the offensive charge for the Philippines with 28 points. Although, it wasn't enough. Damjan Rudez sank two-free throws to bring the lead to three late in the game. The Croatians, behind 26 points from Bojan Bogdanovic, would ultimately prevail in what was arguably Saturday's most entertaining game (not counting what the US did to Finland).

Argentina defeats Puerto Rico, 98-75.

This one was perhaps closer than many expected it to be entering halftime. Puerto Rico trailed Argentina by a mere seven points at the beginning of the second half. It was the Argentinians dominating the third frame, outscoring the Puerto Ricans 27-13, that ultimately made the difference. J.J. Barea was one of two players on his team to score in double-digits. Barea made half of his attempts (7 of 14) shooting from the field en route to a 24 point performance, albeit the losing effort.

Argentina may attribute this victory to a balanced scoring attack. Each player on the winning team who appeared in the game scored at least one basket. The statistic of the night, though, reveals that one of these countries was intent on distributing scoring opportunities. Here are the assist numbers.

  • Argentina - 22
  • Pablo Prigioni - 10
  • Facundo Campazzo - 9
  • Dominican Republic - 5
  • J.J. Barea - 4
Yowza.

Greece defeats Senegal, 87-64.

I watched a lot of basketball games yesterday. This was not one of them. Here's the box score (link) and an embedded tweet.

Group C

Ukraine defeats Dominican Republic, 72-62.

Another game I didn't get a chance to see. Box score link.

Team USA defeats shows little mercy against Finland, 114-55.

Yea......there's not a ton to say about this one. Watching Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins do, well, pretty much whatever they wanted to do, induced flashbacks to when my 14 year old AAU team played in the age group above us during a tournament. *Shivers* Davis made six of eight attempts from the field. Cousins gathered 10 rebounds. There were many plays worthy of making highlight reels. 'Merica.

Turkey defeats New Zealand, 76-73.

I didn't watch this game. Although it would appear it came right down to the wire.

Seriously. I'm not lazy. I'm tired. I can't watch every game.

Box Score.

Group D

Slovenia defeats Australia, 90-80.

Here is when I get a lil' lazy. Below is a clip from Simon Legg's recap published at the NBA Australia webpage.

Goran Dragic was at his best early on, leading his team to a 27-19 advantage after the first quarter, on the back of an 11-4 run to close out the first the first.

Things got uglier in the second, as the Boomers struggled to curtail the efficiency of Slovenia. The margin got out to 13 points early in the second quarter, before an Aron Baynes led charge cut the margin back just before half time.

The Boomers steadily chipped away at the margin, but Slovenia and Dragic held the answers as they continued to pull away, eventually setting up a nine-point lead at the end of the third and then holding on to win by 10 points.

Angola defeats Korea, 80-69.
Lithuania defeats Mexico, 87-74.

Group play continues tomorrow.

Group A

8:30 AM: Serbia vs. France
Noon: Brazil vs. Iran
3:00 PM: Spain vs. Egypt

Group B

8:30 AM: Argentina vs. Croatia
10:30 AM: Senegal vs. Puerto Rico
1:00 PM: Philippines vs. Greece

Group C

7:30 AM: Dominican Republic vs. New Zealand
11:00 AM: Finland vs. Ukraine
4:30 PM: Turkey vs. United States

Group D

8:30 AM: South Korea vs. Australia
12:30 AM: Slovenia vs. Mexico
3:00 PM: Lithuania vs. Angola

Please forgive the lack of professionalism as I am unable to watch and review each and every FIBA World Cup match.

-zb