Trending: USA gets a scare
Aug 6, 2012
"Trending" is a weekly look at the topics dominating your Twitter timeline.
Team USA got more fight out of Lithuania than another other team in preliminary pool play over the weekend, forced to sweat out a 99-94 victory. Folks were quick to point out the 1992 Dream Team's smallest margin of victory was 32 points, which obviously means this team wouldn't stand a chance against that team.
Considering Team USA was coming off an 83 point dismantling of Nigeria and another canceled practice, it wasn't much of a reach to think the Americans were ripe for a scare from Lithuania. It's not like Mike Krzyzewski has to treat these early games like non-conference litmus tests in college. He's got a lineup of professionals that understand what they have to do in the end. Once Team USA woke up, highlighted by a 4 minute stretch of dominance from LeBron James, it was effectively over despite the final margin of 5-points.
It took 58% shooting from Lithuania and a career night from Marty Pocius to hang with a disinterested roster of NBA all-stars. That's not a blueprint to take down Team USA.
Fastest man alive
That's all it took for Usain Bolt to steal the spotlight away from Michael Phelps and prove that he is not of this Earth.
Bolt's domination of track & field had been threatened by his Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake. Well, at least it appeared that way. Blake had beaten Bolt in the 100 meter and 200 meter during the Jamaican Olympic trials. However, Bolt has a reputation of only turning it on for the big events and he entered the London games as the heavy favorite despite his performance at the trials.
He did not disappoint.
You got the sense Bolt was going to defend his gold medal from Beijing during the semifinal race, where he essentially jogged the final 40 meters to victory. The only question was whether or not Bolt would break the world record he set at the 2009 Berlin Championships. He settled with an Olympic record instead, not that it takes away from the overall performance.
Bolt was so fast NBC's live stream buffer didn't resolve itself for thousands of online viewers. And even if your connection was solid enough to catch the entire race, it was compelling enough to watch again on tape delay.
Speaking of Phelps...
Michael Phelps ended his Olympic run as the most decorated Olympian of all time. But the greatest? That's up for debate, despite what NBC keeps telling you in their broadcasts.
Frankly speaking, it's a debate that doesn't spark much interest and I'm not exactly sure what it accomplishes. To dub Phelps as the greatest of all time is to diminish the point of the Olympics, which is way more than just the result of a race.
Hopefully they'll bring back "jamon y queso" for Purvis
NC State freshman Rodney Purvis will not go to Spain for exhibition basketball because the academic core course requirements of Raleigh's Upper Room Christian Academy are under question by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
Considering Purvis' Class of 2012 was the first to graduate from Upper Room, the NCAA's interest in the school's academic rigor shouldn't be a surprise. Typically these issues resolve themselves quietly before the start of the season if the school has all their stuff together. Whether Upper Room does is another question, but having a slate of exhibition games in the middle of August will bring this sort of problem into the news cycle.
There is every reason to believe Purvis will eventually suit up for the Wolfpack if Upper Room's curriculum meets the NCAA's criteria. Considering the NCAA has been going about the business of shutting down diploma mills, it would be highly odd for a new school to operate as such and expect to stick around.
Where it hurts NC State is in development, especially with Lorenzo Brown back home nursing a knee injury. Spain was an opportunity for Purvis, along with Tyler Lewis and TJ Warren, to get some playing time under their belt.
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RE: Trending: USA gets a scareLithuania scored 1.00 points per possession against USA and the USA scored 0.99 points per possession. That means the USA defense was the problem, which is clearly in line with a theme of "disinterest". However USA forced turnovers on 24% of Lithuania's possessions, so USA WAS "getting out there" on defense. The numbers show that the problem was that USA didn't force Lithuania into difficult shots, and didn't contest those shots.
Perhaps this is where overplay defense, even with the best players, breaks down. Once Lithuania made it past the overplay pressure, there were easy baskets to be had. I'd be surprised to see if K pulls back out of so much overplay, to be honest. So, actually, this IS a recipe for beating USA. Set picks, avoid turnovers, get the ball inside, and USA can be had.