After USA’s 119-76 victory over Slovenia in Barcelona, both coaches, Mike Krzyzewski and Jure Zdovc said that the U.S. are definitely beatable, despite going 7-0 so far at the FIBA World Cup.
The USA will face their toughest challenge on Thursday against Lithuania, but many are expecting the the 2010 world champions to reach the Final on Sunday night in Madrid against who many people believe will be the hosts Spain.
USA coach Krzyzewski though is playing down that possibility.
“We’re beatable there’s no question about it,” said Krzyzewski. “We’re a very young team, and that’s why I was very pleased in the way we handled things today because usually a young team would get really frustrated with the ball not going in and it turned pretty physical. And at half-time I just thought that they kept their composure and I said to them at half-time that ‘we need to be a mature team’ and they were.
“But we’re not this powerhouse or anything. We have good athletic ability. We play hard, defensively, but we’re young. And internationally, it’s tough to young.”
Krzyzewski admitted that he hasn’t studied Lithuania yet ahead of Thursday’s clash. He has coached against the Baltic nation in both the 2010 world championship semi-finals and at the 2012 London Olympics group stages, both times, the USA won, en route to tournament victories.
Coach K also pointed out the USA’s loss to Greece at the 2006 world championships in Japan, the last time that they lost a competitive game in international play. Greece’s coach fromthat tournament, Panagiotis Giannakis was at the press conference, while Krzyzewski was addressing the media in Barcelona.
Slovenia coach Zdovc also said that this USA team is beatable. His side matched the joint favourites for the first two quarters before the Americans pulled away in the second half.
Zdovc though thinks that this USA team can be toppled.
“They’re a good team but not unbeatable,” Zdovc said at the post-game press conference.
“I think in the semi-final they might be a completely different team because Lithuania help out under the basket. They have five tall guys and they have power inside and perimeter. They’re only weak spot is point guard but it will be interesting to see this game.”