Italy and France meet Tuesday morning in the 2020 Olympics Basketball Quarterfinal at the Saitama Super Arena. Italy won two of its three group games and is coming off a win over Nigeria. France swept group A and is coming off a blowout win over Iran.
Italy has won five of its last six games overall and is in the knockout stages for the first time since 2004. In the winning effort, Italy shot 40 percent from the field and 25.8 percent from three. Nicolo Melli led Italy with 15 points and five rebounds while Nico Mannion had 14 points and four rebounds. Achille Polonara was the third double-digit scorer and Simone Fontecchio grabbed two rebounds. Defensively, Italy allowed 40.3 percent shooting from the field and 39.3 percent shooting from three. Italy has been possibly the most underrated team in these games and could easily be undefeated if it weren’t for a three-point loss to Australia. Italy has been consistent offensively throughout and has scored no less than 80 points in each of its last four games.
France is coming off wins over Iran, Czech Republic and Team USA, and this comes after going winless in exhibition play. In the winning effort, France shot 49.2 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. Thomas Heurtel led France with 16 points and three rebounds while Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had 12 points and five rebounds. Nando De Colo was the third double-digit scorer and Vincent Poirier grabbed two rebounds. Defensively, France allowed 34.4 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent shooting from three. France has clearly found its mojo when expectations were a bit shaky given the play in friendly matches. France has been great defensively and has actually won eight of its last 11 quarters.
France has won the last eight matches against Italy, including the most recent meeting in a 2017 friendly. Italy has not beaten France since the 2003 EuroBasket third place game.
France should be favored and should win this game if we’re being honest. However, Italy has been disrespected throughout these games and its made it this far. Italy competes and has been good enough offensively to give some of the more respected clubs a run. Heck, Italy nearly meat the Aussies and could also be undefeated.
Give me Italy and the free points.