Olympic Men's Basketball Preview: Serbia v Australia

Olympics
Friday 19th August 2016, 10:46 AM

On Friday August 19th, the Serbian and Australian men’s basketball teams will face off in the semi-finals of the Rio Olympics. The winner of this game will play the USA or Spain in the championship on Sunday. Serbia has been a surprise contender in this tournament, while Australia has also turned heads by showing they're the clear number two team behind the USA. Nevertheless, this should be a close, entertaining basketball game, even if Serbia aren’t tipped to go the distance.

How the Bookies See it

  • Winner: Australia 5/11, Serbia 9/5 – Bet365
  • Half Time/Full Time: Australia/Australia 10/11, Serbia/Serbia 16/5, Serbia/Australia 5/1 – Paddy Power

Form

Serbia, with a record of 3-3, has performed quite well in the Olympics so far. They've undoubtedly had the most difficult schedule out of the entire field, yet they've shown excellent form in every contest and won the games they were supposed to win. Though they lost to Australia by 15 in the preliminary round, they also dropped games to France and the USA by a combined four points. In the quarterfinals, they were able to overcome an early deficit to take down the very talented Croatian team. Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets had 12 points and Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets put up 18 against Croatia. Though the team shot just 41 percent from the field, they fought and eventually secured an 86-83 victory.

Though Australia hasn’t had nearly as difficult a schedule as Serbia, their 5-1 record proves just how potent of a team they are. All five of their wins have come by 15 points or more, and they lost to the USA in the preliminary round by just 10. They were the first team to lead the USA at halftime in years. Australia already beat Serbia 95-80 in their second game of the preliminary round, where Matthew Dellavedova had 23 and Patty Mills had 26 to lead the way, and the Aussies held the Serbians to 80 points on 39 percent shooting. They stifled Jokic and Bogdanovic, only allowing a combined 19 points on 20 shots from the duo. Surprisingly, Serbia only lost the rebound battle 38-34 though.

Sports.net’s view

Serbia has been the giant-killer for almost the entire tournament, but that strategy can only last so long. Though they are one of the best shooting teams in Rio, they lack the size up front to match up with big men like Bogut and Aron Baynes. The fact that Australia has three times as many NBA players doesn’t bode well for the Serbians either. The only way they can have a chance at winning this game is if they don’t get blown out in the rebounding category and they shoot very well from three.

Australia has proven they have the depth and talent to go deep into this tournament, and it’s obvious they want another matchup with the USA in the gold medal game. They handled Serbia well the first time, and nothing tells me this game should be any different. Andrew Bogut and Aron Baynes will need to have their way in the post and put up big rebounding numbers for the Aussies, but that shouldn’t be a problem against this undersized Serbian front line.

  • Sports.net’s top tip: Though Serbia has held its own with the best teams of this tournament, they don’t have the depth or the size to take down Australia. The Aussies win by 16 here.

*Please note that odds may fluctuate.

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Published: Friday, 19 August 2016 10:46:16+00:00
Published By Sports.net

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