U.S. vs. Lithuania
2:00 pm CDT
After Spain's shocking loss to France in the last quarterfinal yesterday, the semis are set. The U.S. takes on Lithuania today while France and Serbia will meet tomorrow to determine the finalists for the World Cup.
It's hard to envision an upset of the U.S. today, as Lithuania simply lacks the talent to really hurt the U.S. squad. They have had a successful tournament in winning Group D and advancing to this point with a 6-1 overall record (losing only to Australia in the group phase), but it almost certainly ends here.
The best player for Lithuania during the World Cup has been Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, who leads both in scoring and rebounding, and is shooting over 70% from the field. Much of the rest of the offense has been generated by three point shooting. They are 2nd in the competition (to Australia) at 40% from three, and they have several guys shooting at very high percentages. Point guard Adas Juskevicius and swing man Jonas Maciulis are both over 50% from three for the tournament, and center Darjus Lavrinovic is someone the U.S. bigs will have to close out on, as he's over 60% on threes.
Still, there is a fairly wide talent and athletic gap between these two teams, and the U.S. should be able to get their transition game going, and their guards should be able to generate shots off the dribble with relative ease. Valanciunas will have to be huge to keep the U.S. from feasting on the boards as well.
Enjoy the game. Chat about it here.