As expected, Team USA has been rolling through Olympic competition with ease. But their 98-88 victory over Australia was anything but easy. It took a combined 26 points from Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving to put away this feisty group of Australians.
Since this loss, Team Australia has been praised for the close game. But center Andrew Bogut is one player who’s not celebrating because he knows the potential of this team.
“Everybody gets birthday cake like it’s the best day ever,” joked Bogut. “We’re disappointed. We lost. We’re not going to take small, moral victories.”
Australia has never won an Olympic medal in basketball. Despite featuring NBA players like Bogut, Aron Baynes, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills, they aren’t expected to win a medal either, sitting 11th in the FIBA rankings.
But despite a mediocre ranking, the Boomers aren’t backing down from anybody. And if you’re into Olympic basketball betting, this could be the perfect underdog team for you to bet on moving forward.
“The first-ranked team, or the 50th-ranked team, we’re going to play them the same way,” said Ingles. “We’re not intimidated, we’re not scared of anyone and we hope we get another crack at them. We’re a really good group of guys. We’ve played together. We’ve got a helluva roster and we can match up with any team here. We’re going to play the same way, no matter what, we’re going to do what we do.”
The last time that Australia faced Team USA, they were clobbered by 33 points in the 2012 London Olympics. But this is a much different squad, one that has more maturity and talent than any previous Australian basketball team.
This maturity really shows in Australia’s offense, which, as SBNation describes, features bone-crushing picks from Bogut and tremendous off-ball speed from Mills. Here’s one excerpt that perfectly describes the offense’s strengths:
Together, Mills and Bogut form the bedrock of a system that combines speedy guards, multiple playmakers and big men that operate in the high post while flocking to anyone in the vicinity that can be picked off.
SBNation continues to diagram various pictures where Bogut’s screens are crucial to getting playmakers like Mills, Dellavedova, and Ingles open for shots.
What Australia showed against the US shouldn’t be a surprise since they beat both fifth-ranked France and sixth-ranked Serbia in their first two contests.
Considering that the Boomers are taking the Olympic basketball scene in Rio by storm, they might continue to be undervalued on lines. Of course, that won’t happen any time until after group play because they close out their schedule against China and Venezuela, two teams that’ll be heavy underdogs.
Provided they make it out of group play as expected, they’ll face some of the other international basketball superpowers that are battling for a medal. Argentina, Brazil, Croatia, France, and Spain all have good teams. But if we’re judging based on the first three games of group play, Australia has looked better than all of them.
What’s crazy to think is that, considering how Dante Exum, Ben Simmons and Thon Maker didn’t play this summer, the Boomers only look to get better.
“The future looks very bright,” said head coach Andrej Lemanis. “The Australian development system, it’s been coordinated and organized. That work is all starting to show itself in the quality of player that is coming through. It’s exciting.
“And, the other thing with Australia’s cultural mix as well, the athlete that is starting to come through as well, is changing the landscape a little bit.”
But even without these players, Australia is alive and well in the hunt for a medal. If you’re thinking of betting on them through GTBets, here’s a look at their remaining group play schedule:
Saturday, August 13th: Boomers vs China @ 3.15am
Monday, August 15th: Boomers vs Venezuela @ 1.15am