With the better part of the 2014 FIBA World Cup now behind us and the semifinals set to tip off today, let’s take a look back at some of the most recent action in the tournament, and preview what to expect moving forward.
Coming into the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Spain was widely seen, without a doubt, as the only legitimate threat to knock off Team USA, and it seemed to be an accepted fact that they were destined to eventually clash with the defending world cup champions in the final.
Seeming to be on a quest to prove the majority right, Spain made it look easy through their first six games of the tournament, winning each by no fewer than 16 points. All those lofty goals and expectations, however, came crashing down on Wednesday, when Spain was stunned by France, losing their quarterfinal matchup in embarrassing fashion, 65-52.
The other side of the bracket was a much different story, as Team USA rolled over a clearly outmatched Slovenia team, 119-76. The Americans showed us why they have always been the favorites, overcoming a slow start and relatively poor showing in the first half to put on a one-sided, dominant performance in the second.
2014 FIBA World Cup Semifinals Preview
Moving forward, here is a look at the two semifinal matchups, the first of which (USA vs. LIT), is set to be played at 2 P.M. ET on Thursday:
USA vs. Lithuania (2 P.M. Eastern, September 11)
As impressive as Lithuania has looked during this tournament, this figures to be an easy win for Team USA. They have been nothing short of dominant, and there is no reason to believe that that will end anytime soon. More importantly, they haven’t had to rely on any one player to carry them this far.
Lithuania, however, will have to heavily rely on big men Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas to stand a chance. In simple terms, Lithuania is a great team, but they don’t have near the depth or backcourt it would take to upset Team USA.
France vs. Serbia (4 P.M. Eastern, September 12)
In what figures to be a much more evenly-matched competition, France and Serbia will essentially battle it out for the opportunity to play Team USA during the 2014 FIBA World Cup final.
In the first meeting between these two teams, it was a very close contest, and France eventually pulled out the controversial one-point win, 74-73. While the French have an obvious size advantage over Serbia and are widely considered to be the slight favorites in this one, expect this to be a close game that could very well end up going either way.
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