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The second quarter-final match is between Italy and the United States. While Italy is confident after a 36-point win in their last game, the United States is focused on returning to form after a confidence-shaking loss to Lithuania in their previous match. It's win or go home as Italy and the United States go head-to-head!
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|O 175.5 (-115)|
|United States||-15.0 (-115)|
|U 175.5 (-115)|
Italy have played well through the FIBA World Cup, but the pace of the United States is set to be their undoing in this tournament. The Americans are coming off a loss in their last match, and they're sure to bounce back. Italy won't be able to handle the United States' scoring rate.
|Gianmarco Pozzecco||Head Coach||Steve Kerr|
|Won 3||Form||Lost 1|
Leaders (Per Game)
|S. Fontecchio (18.4)||PPG||A. Edwards (20.2)|
|N. Melli (7.4)||RPG||J. Hart (6.2)|
|M. Spissu (5.6)||APG||T. Haliburton (5.0)|
|M. Spissu, S. Tonut (1.0)||SPG||A. Reaves (1.8)|
|N. Melli (1.2)||BPG||W. Kessler (1.4)|
|S. Tonut (.579)/S. Fontecchio (6.6)||FG%/FGM||J. Jackson Jr. (.682)/S. Fontecchio (7.6)|
|M. Spissu (.462)/M. Spissu (2.4)||3P%/3PM||A. Reaves (.462)/A. Edwards (2.0)|
Italy started their tournament run strong, going 4-1, with their sole loss coming against the Dominican Republic in the first round. They enter their most challenging tournament match against the United States with the odds heavily against them.
Dominating their last match, Italy earned a 16-point victory over Puerto Rico. They were able to control the paint area, shooting 55.3% from two-point range while outrebounding their opponents by 19. They struggled from range, though, hitting just nine threes on 26.5% shooting from the field.
The odds are against Italy, and it's easy to see why. While competitive in the paint, the American defense looks well-equipped to handle them, and without a consistent three-point threat, it's hard to see their offense keeping up. Finding victory will take a team effort, a winning rebounding night, and an efficient offense.
Italy ranks 20th in the tournament in scoring, averaging 80.8 points per game on 43.7% from the field and 31.4% from three-point range. Their rebounding numbers are more respectable, though, collecting 39.2 per game and 11.4 offensive rebounds per game.
The top scorer for Italy through five games has been forward Simone Fontecchio, who has averaged 18.4 points per game on 42.9% from the field and 23.7% from deep. He's been supported by Nicolo Melli, who is posting 7.6 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds per game.
It's no understatement to say that Italy's offensive production could be better compared to the United States. Count on the Italians to put up a good fight, but it'll take some surprise shooting performances to outgun the Americans.
Favorites to win the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the United States entered this game off of a disappointing loss. Despite going undefeated through their first four games, the United States were defeated by Lithuania in their most recent game.
In their 104-110 loss to Lithuania in their last game, the United States was thoroughly defeated from the outside and in the paint. They allowed their opponents to shoot 52.8% from the field and 56.0% from three on 14 made attempts. Despite a massive 35-point night from Anthony Edwards, it wasn't enough to propel the USA to victory.
The United States must be wary of the Italians' pace when they take on Italy. While Italy aren't in the top ten of any offensive category, they're excellent at making teams play at their tempo. Taking control of the pace of play will be the priority for the United States.
The United States has been the tournament's top-scoring team, averaging 101.4 points per game on 53.0% from the field but just 36.8% from three on 8.6 made. While they've shot just 78.3% from the free throw line, the Americans lead the tournament with 27.6 free throw attempts per game.
Anthony Edwards has led the United States in scoring through five games, averaging 20.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game on 48.1% shooting from the field. Surprisingly, the United States' rebounding leader has been guard Josh Hart, with 6.2 rebounds per game. Despite their shooting inconsistencies, the USA has four players with double-digit scoring averages.
Count on the Americans to push Italy to the limit in their quarter-final matchup. Italy's offense doesn't have the diversity that the United States team has, so expect the Americans to not only control the scoring pace but also tighten up on defense after their recent loss.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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