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The Favorites Move On

No giant upsets in the FIBA Worlds yet.

Argentina smoked Turkey and Spain smoked Lithuania early this morning, setting up a terrific semifinal match between the victors.

The US is awaiting Germany, and France will face Greece.

A Final Four of Argentina, Spain, the US, and France would be very status quo and expected. I think everyone picked one surprise team to get to the last four - whether it be Turkey or Lithuania (not that surprising) or even Australia. Greece could still get in there, but even they are the defending Euro champions. They're expected to be as far as they are.

Either way, if the US wins, they will have had by far the easiest road to the title game, and I think that could hurt in coming up against the Argentines or Spaniards. Italy has been the only test for Team USA so far, and either Greece or France would provide only a similar challenge, not much more. Argentina and Spain are on a completely different level from everyone but the US. It's all going to rely on if the Americans can rise to higher level they'll need to this weekend.

(But am I excited for the Germany-US tilt? Of course. How can you not be with quotes like this from the German coach: "But more than anything you have to rip your hearts out of your chests, throw them on the court and compete until you drop dead. And I think that's the bottom line." Yes, Coach, that is the bottom line. And let me just say that, should Dirk Nowitzki decide to rip his own heart out of his chest and throw it on the court and compete until he drops dead, well then I'll be okay with that.)