Round of 16 Game Preview: USA-Mexico
USA vs. Mexico
Palau Sant Jordi
10:00 a.m. EDT, ESPN2
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Rolling up a 5-0 record play and winning those five preliminary round games by an average 33.2 points a game, the USA World Cup Team moves on to the Round of 16 in possession of Group C’s No. 1 seed and will face Group D No. 4 seed Mexico on Saturday in a 10 a.m. (EDT) game that is being broadcast live by ESPN2.
Barcelona is a city that has been very good to USA Basketball.
Anyone familiar with basketball knows, and would probably credit, the legendary 1992 USA Dream Team and Barcelona for the launch of basketball truly becoming a global sport.
Barcelona has been very good to USA National Teams that have been comprised of NBA players. MJ, Larry, Magic, Sir Charles, the Admiral and the rest of the Dream Team crew dominated the 1992 Barcelona Olympics much to the joy of opponents and fans around the world. The USA Team in 1992 not only won all eight of its games to reclaim Olympic gold for the United States (the USA won the bronze medal in the 1998 Seoul Olympics using collegians), but they did so in glorious and dominating fashion. Winning its eight games by 43.8 points a game, the U.S. averaged 117.3 points of offense over the course of the Games. "You will see a team of professionals in the Olympics again," said legendary USA head coach Chuck Daly. "But I don't think you'll see another team quite like this. This was a majestic team."
Twenty-five years later, as a lead up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, the USA returned to Barcelona. With Dream Teamers and Hall of Famers David Robinson, Chris Mullin and Clyde Drexler in attendance, but as fans this time, the USA National Team, featuring current day legends like Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and others including promising rising stars and current 2014 USA Team members Anthony Davis and James Harden, played a pair of exhibition games in Barcelona in preparation for London. The USA on July 22, 2012, slipped past Argentina 86-80 in the USA's first game in Barcelona since 1992, then three days later, July 25, 2012, rolled over Spain 100-78 to conclude its exhibition tour with a 5-0 record.
In 2014, the USA returns to Barcelona. Moving on to the elimination round of the 2014 World Cup, Group C and Group D team will reconvene play on Sept. 6 and 7. The 5-0 USA squad will face 2-3 Mexico in a 4 p.m. (Barcelona time) Round of 16 game. If the USA prevails, it will advance to the quarterfinals and play on Sept. 9 against the winner of the Slovenia-Dominican Republic Round of 16 game. Semifinals play will also be played on Sept. 9 in Barcelona for the four advancing teams from Group C and D.
With preliminary round play behind them, the USA and 15 other national teams enter the Round of 16 knowing it is now win or go home time.
The USA will face off against its neighbor to the south Mexico, the Group D No. 4 seed. The USA is 2-0 against Mexico in World Cup play, however, the two nations have not met in the competition since 1967. The last meeting between the two teams at a senior level was at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship (Olympic Qualifier), which the USA hosted in Las Vegas. The USA won that contest 127-100.
Mexico during the World Cup finished preliminary play 2-3, recording wins over Angola (79-55) and South Korea (87-71), while coming up short versus Lithuania (87-74), Slovenia (89-68) and Australia (70-62). Mexico has been led by 6-foot-9 center Gustavo Ayon, a NBA free agent who most recently played for Atlanta, 15.8 ppg. and 7.5 rpg.;
6-foot-8 guard Franciso Cruz,13.4 ppg.; 6-foot-8 forward Hector Hernandez 11.2 ppg. and 5.2 rpg.; and Brooklyn Nets’ guard Jorge Gutierrez. 9.6 ppg., 2.4 apg.
Offensively, Mexico is scoring at a 74.0 points per game clip and has shot 49.5 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from 3-point. Having outrebounded its opponents by an average of 4.2 rebounds a game, Mexico qualified for its World Cup in 40 years by winning last summer’s FIBA Americas Championship.
The U.S. continues to be led by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Davis, who is averaging 15.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots a game, and by Kenneth Faried who is adding 13.8 points and a team leading 7.8 rebounds, while shooting a sizzling 79.0 percent (34-43 FGs) from the floor. Further aiding the USA scoring punch are James Harden, 12.6 ppg. and a team leading 4.5 apg.; Klay Thompson, 10.2 ppg.; Kyrie Irving, 9.8 ppg. and 3.8 apg.; DeMarcus Cousins, 9.6 ppg. and 4.6 rpg.; while Stephen Curry is averaging 9.4 points and 3.8 assists a game.
As a team, the U.S. is averaging 102.2 points game, shooting 54.1 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from 3-point and 71.2 percent from the foul line. Defensively, the USA is holding it’s opponents to just 69.0 points a game, 38.7 percent shooting from the floor, 32.5 percent from 3-point, and is forcing opponents into 25.2 turnovers a game. Additionally, the USA is averaging 15.6 steals a game. The complete listing for team statistics can be found at http://archive.usab.com/misc/14_mwc_team_leaders.pdf.
Just the Facts: Mexico
FIBA World Ranking: #24
How Mexico Qualified: FIBA Amer. gold medalist (8-2)
World Cup Appearances: 4
World Cup Overall Record: 15-14 (.517%)
World Cup Finishes: 8th (1967); 9th (1963, 1974); 13th (1959)
World Cup Record vs. USA: 0-2 (65-75, 1967; 74-88, 1963)
Last Senior Team Meeting vs. USA: 2007 TOA (100-127)
2013 Head Coach: Sergio Valdeolmillos Moreno
2013 Key Players In FIBA Americas Championship: Gustavo Ayon (17.5 ppg., 9.2 rpg., 2.1 apg.), Orlando Mendez (12.3 ppg., 2.2 apg.), Héctor Hernández (10.2 ppg., 5.1 rpg.).
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