The Boomers make their push for Gold in Tokyo Sunday night, beginning with a match up against one of the up and coming nations of International Basketball.
Patty Mills is set to carry the flag in the opening ceremony tonight with Cate Campbell, and he will also be carrying the hopes of Australian Boomers fans across the country.
Game 1 Sunday (25/07) 6:20pm
Nigeria come into this tournament red hot, defeating Team USA and Argentina in their Olympic Games warm up tournament in Las Vegas, only to fall to a Boomers team with their starting unit resting in their last tune up game.
Brian Goorjian wouldn’t want to read too much into that game, given the high Nigeria were coming off, as well as potentially taking their foot off the gas seeing the Boomers line up just before tip-off.
Both coaches wouldn’t have wanted to show their hand in the lead up to the opening game of the Olympics, and Nigeria have another piece set to make his way to Tokyo before their opening game, with Jordan Nwora coming in off a Bucks championship win Wednesday.
Jahlil Okafor and Precious Achiuwa will also look to give the Boomers bigs trouble, as Baynes and Duop Reath will be heavily called upon to stop the Nigerian bigs at the rim.
This game may very well decide the group, but Australia should be too good for a Nigeria team looking to surprise many pundits in the Games, and they should be good enough to finish 2nd in the group and advance to the knock out stages.
Game 2 Wednesday (28/07) 6:20pm
Italy had a different path to Tokyo, having to go through a pre-tournament qualification only a few weeks back in Serbia, and came through with flying colours.
Italy knocked off Serbia (IN SERBIA!) in the final of the qualification tournament 102-95 on the back of stellar play from young Golden State Warriors PG Nico Mannion, who finished with 24 points and 4 assists.
Mannion was well supported by Achille Polonara who finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, with Simone Fontecchio chipping in with 21 points of his own.
Italy get a boost of their own coming into the games, with Atlanta Hawks stand out Danilo Gallinari making his way into the team, giving them another walking bucket!
Jock Landale or Joe Ingles may be tasked with guarding Gallinari, and will have to limit his output if the Boomers are to knock off the Italians, a team that will be neck and neck with Nigeria for 2nd place in the group.
Game 3 Saturday (31/07) 6.20pm
The Boomers final game sees us face off against Germany, a team that surprised many coming out of the Croatian pre-tournament qualifier.
Germany won all 4 games in Croatia, knocking off Mexico, Russia, Croatia and Brazil in the final.
They finished off Croatia and Brazil in convincing fashion in the finals, winning both games by double digits.
Maodo Lo was outstanding in the semi-final v Croatia, finishing with 29 Points 4 Rebounds and 8 Assists.
His battle with Boomers Point Guard Patty Mills will be one to watch for in our final game.
Germany is missing a stack of NBA Talent, but still has Mo Wagner, who posted 28 Points and 6 Rebounds in the final against Brazil to qualify for the games.
Jock Landale has his name written all over Wagner, and if Jock wants to stake his claims for NBA Selection, slowing down the German big will go a long way!
The core group of Mills, Ingles, Delly and Baynes have been together for 3-4 games now, and with squad additions like Matisse Thybulle and sharp shooter Chris Goulding off the bench, this team is finally ready to be standing on the podium after it’s all said and done!
Winning our group will go a long way to getting to that podium and it all starts Sunday night against Nigeria.
Go the boys!!