Olympic Basketball 2012: Spain vs. Great Britain Preview

The host country Great Britain will look for its first Olympic basketball win today when they play Spain (2-0) at 3:00 p.m. EST.

Spain is considered the favorite in Pool B and the biggest threat to challenge the United States for the gold medal while Great Britain would probably not even be playing in these Olympics if it wasn’t for them being the host country.

Pau Gasol is playing as good as he ever has for Spain of late averaging 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for them. He is joined by brother Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Felipe Reyes to makeup a very formidable front line.

Ibaka has been very solid for Spain coming off the bench averaging 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

Spain is banged up with Marc Gasol nursing a shoulder injury and Rudy Fernandez getting roughed up in their last game. Team captain Juan Carlos Navarro missed the team’s last game against Australia with plantar fasciitis.

Spain beat China 97-81 in their first game after a scare early as China hung around led by Yi Jianlian who scored 30 points for them. Then Spain beat Australia 82-70 two days ago.

Great Britain lost to Russia by 20 in its opener then almost pulled off the upset vs. Brazil but lost 67-62.

Luol Deng is leading Great Britain averaging 19.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game for them and has played 39.3 minutes per game.

Deng is getting little help though aside from Pops Mensah-Bonsu who is giving them 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. It’s a case of Deng trying to do everything and it’s just way too much for him to handle.

Spain will not make it easy for Great Britain as they will surely outclass them. Spain has been together for a long time with this group and their offense runs like clockwork.

Spain is not the best defensive team and that’s how Great Britain could gain some confidence against them. If they can get hot from the outside and keep it close early, they could potentially hang around until the end with an upset in question.

Spain is definitely expected to improve to 3-0 with a win today matching the U.S. with an undefeated record so far.

There will be a third undefeated team remaining after today as well which will be determined by the winner of the Brazil-Russia game. Both teams are threats to Spain to upset them and win the pool but it is a long shot.

Andrei Kirilenko has been playing at a very high level for an underrated Russian team while Brazil has NBA size up front and a master of a point guard in Marcelinho Huertas.

Spain will play Russia then Brazil in their last two games of pool play after Great Britain today.

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Tags: 2012 Olympics Great Britain Luol Deng Marc Gasol Pau Gasol Rudy Fernandez Serge Ibaka Spain

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