France vs Slovenia
August 5, 2021 7:00 am EDT
The Line: Slovenia -2
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France and Slovenia meet Thursday morning in the 2020 Olympics Basketball Semifinal at the Saitama Super Arena. France has yet to lose a game in these games and looks to make its first gold medal game appearance since 2000. Slovenia is also undefeated in these games and can make the gold medal game in its first Olympic trip.
France is undefeated in these games and is fresh off a victory over Italy. In the winning effort, France shot 47.6 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from three. Rudy Gobert led France with 22 points and nine rebounds while Evan Fournier had 21 points and three rebounds. Nicolas Batum was the third double-digit scorer and Thomas Heurtel grabbed one rebound. Defensively, France allowed 32.4 percent shooting from the field and 21.2 percent shooting from three. France came back after trailing in the first quarter by five points and really buckled down defensively. Again, France has been the surprise of the tournament, as expectations weren’t all that high after going winless in friendly play. France could make its third ever gold medal game appearance.
Slovenia is riding a 10-game winning streak and is fresh off a win over Germany. In the winning effort, Slovenia shot 54 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three. Zoran Dragic led Slovenia with 27 points and six rebounds while Luka Doncic had 20 points and eight rebounds. Mike Tobey was the third double-digit scorer and Jaka Blazic grabbed three rebounds. Defensively, Slovenia allowed 38.1 percent shooting from the field and 31.6 percent shooting from three. Slovenia had zero trouble with the quick turnaround and was already up double digits in the first quarter. Slovenia shows time and time again this club is more than Doncic doing heavy lifting. You could make a strong argument Slovenia has been the most impressive team in these games.
Slovenia and France have split the last six meetings, but it was Slovenia that won the most recent match, which came in 2017 EuroBasket. This will be the first time Slovenia and France meet in the Olympics.
While France deserves all the credit in the world and is intriguing as a slight underdog, I’m not sure how anybody bets against Slovenia. Not only does Slovenia have the best player on the floor who is capable of willing his team to victory, but the scoring depth around has shown up like clockwork. Slovenia has given you no reason to bet against them.
I’ll lay the bucket with Slovenia.