You can't go wrong with USA vs. Russia in any sport, but in basketball this game will always wake the echoes of the former Soviet Union swiping gold in the 1972 Olympics. After nearly 30 years it was surprising to hear a diplomatic debate break out between the Russian coach -- and American citizen -- David Blatt and Mike Krzyzewski over the validity of the ridiculous finish in Munich gold medal game.
That talk has to be a bit of a yawner for the young U.S. squad so they'll need to rely on their own personal pride to take down the modern-day Russian team today in the FIBA World Championship quarterfinal matchup. The Russians will certainly present some front-court problems for the undersized Americans.
Timofey Mozgov is a 23-year-old, 7'1" center signed by the New York Knicks this offseason. He's leading the Russians in scoring but remains a work in progress and a player who shouldn't dominate the middle on his own. But with Sasha Kaun (6'11") and Sergey Monya (6'9") added to the mix, the U.S. team will have to keep things moving and not allow the Russian bigs to play at a favorable pace.
The game starts at 11:00AM on ESPN. Serbia's defeat of Spain yesterday raised the bar of excitement in Istanbul as the one-and-done round has provoked some serious intensity among the elite teams. Expect nothing less in this game.
After the jump, a few links of interest with stories about the WCs, NBA free agents and performance enhancing basketball shoes.
Russian coach fires back at Coach K
Adrian Wojnarowski has more on the back-and-forth between the two coaches in advance of today's game.
Big Russian wall blocks Americans' way in path to title
John Schuhman reports on the challenges Russia will offer Team USA.
Turkey Tops Slovenia, Makes First World Championship Semifinal
The semifinals ought to be rockin' with the home team playing a leading role.
2010 FIBA World Championship: Serbia knocks out defending champion Spain
Serbia's win over Spain yesterday was fantastic, as mentioned in a comment yesterday, Milos Teodosic gave Spain the Reggie Miller treatment.
A look at coaching strategies at end of Serbia-Spain
Chris Sheridan offers some interesting observations about the end-of-game strategy by Serbia yesterday and international play in general.
USA formidable foe for Knicks' Mozgov
Marc Berman thinks Knicks fans should be plenty interested in seeing how Timofey Mozgov plays against the NBA talent on Team USA.
Eight teams who could crash the playoffs party
Shaun Powell considers the Pacers among those teams that could make the playoffs if they can put it all together this season.
New Orleans Hornets remain one of the teams free agent forward Louis Amundson is considering
John Reid reports that the Hornets and Amundson are still talking but the forward remains on the open market.
New Orleans Hornets sign free-agent point guard Mustafa Shakur
The Hornets sign Shakur to fill the void left by losing Darren Collison.
Golden State Warriors sign free-agent swingman Rodney Carney
Rodney Carney and the Dubs make it official.
Putting spring-loaded Concept 1 basketball shoes to the test
Chris Ballard tests out the latest in performance enhancing hoop shoes.