Croatia vs. Spain - 8/7/16 Men's Basketball 2016 Olympic Games Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Spain vs. Croatia
Olympic Basketball: Sunday August 7, 2016
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Croatia and Spain meet Sunday in the opening match of the men’s basketball tournament in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Croatia is just happy to be here considering this is just the second time its qualified for the Olympics since 2000. Croatia has very little basketball success over the years and it's only Olympic medal came in 1992. However, Croatia has a young, energetic roster and is well coached by Aleksandar Petrović, who has had a lot of success with Yugoslavia. Croatia has two true NBA players on its roster which are Orlando Magics Mario Hezonja and Brooklyn Nets Bojan Bogdanović. Dario Saric is on the 76ers roster but spent the last two years playing for the Anadolu Efes. Croatia has some outside shooting and could be dangerous if guys get hot. Roko Ukic will captain the team and has big game experience to keep guys levelheaded.
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Spain has won back-to-back Olympic silver medals and is easily once again the biggest threat to the United States. Spain is also coming of a gold medal performance in the 2015 EuroBasket. In terms of NBA talent, Spain is looking sharp with guys such as Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon and Nikola Mirotic. Spain also has a few young guys who are under NBA teams control, while a duo of Rudy Fernandez and Juan Carlos Navarro can takeover a game from beyond the arc. Two-time Spanish League MVP Felipe Reyes will captian this experienced bunch. Pretty much every player on this Spain roster is accomplished in one way or another and things could get very interesting if it plays to its potential each contest.
Croatia couldn’t have started off with a worse match, as it’s being fed to the lions in its first Olympic contest in a long time. Croatia has some talent and could pull off an upset or two, but Spain is a whole different animal that’s loaded with experience and game changing players. It’s tough seeing Croatia even keeping this somewhat close.
I like Spain by 20 points, as it sends an early message to the United States.