Friday, August 10, 2012

Argentina: How Can They Beat the US?

Andres Nocioni going for a layup. From NBC
Argentina is preparing for a rendezvous with the US in the semifinals. The US hasn't played super amazingly through the tournament, but they've gotten the wins and certainly deserve to be playing today. With all the firepower the US has, how can Argentina overthrow them (note that this isn't a knock against Argentina)?

Play hyperactive defense! Argentina needs to make the US work for every single shot they take. Crowd three point shooters, don't allow easy finishes in the paint and, above all, get back on D in transition! All of those actions are things teams should do every game, but when facing the US it's all the more imperative.

Why? Disrupting the US offense really throws off their whole game. Their defense and hustle on both ends will dissipate if the Argentinian defense stifles them.

Get some offense from the bench. The Argentinian bench is weak. That's probably their biggest weakness as a country (age not being far behind). If they can get 10-20 points from them, that'd be a huge boost for them. That will take a little pressure off of Ginobili, Scola and crew. It will allow them to put effort into defense and distributing the ball. It could open the game up more for them offensively too. Forcing the US to stay close to the Argentine perimeter players will keep the lanes open for cutters and Scola post ups.

While it will be no easy feat to get their bench to score 10-20 points on average, it will be crucial to them beating the US. Maybe two of their bench players can get hot from three, maybe they'll box out well and get some easy put backs. Whatever way the points come, points off the bench will be highly cherished for Argentina.

Give em a whole lotta Scola! Luis Scola is a terrific post scorer. He's dynamic, having multiple moves and counter moves, great footwork and a soft touch. Luis Scola is the type of player the US doesn't have. What should Luis Scola do? Be super aggressive, look to score, get the US bigs in foul trouble, hit the glass and give the US everything he's got.

Argentina needs to hit Luis Scola early and often. Establishing their dominance down low will not only give Argentina the pace they want, it will also give the whole Argentinian team confidence. Luis Scola can be the dominant force that gives Argentina the upset mindset. Argentina has beaten the US before, sure, but having a guy prove he's superior early certainly wouldn't hurt.

Is it likely that Argentina beats the US? The US is highly favored. How will the game go then? It's going to be a dog fight. Despite outlining keys to an Argentine win, a US win certainly seems inevitable. What can I say, I'm American! Argentina, don't listen to that last few sentences, go out and play your game. Anyone who totally counts Argentina out is kidding themselves! Expect a gritty, inspired showing from both the US and Argentina.