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Gamethread: Slovenia vs USA, today at 12

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In true David versus Goliath fashion, Slovenia takes on the title favourites, USA.

The World Cup is down to its last 8 teams and surprisingly Slovenia is one of them. Of course so are the US, but everyone expected that. Just like everyone expects a USA win today. The odds are ever in their favor.

Still, there is no use being negative, as always Slovenia will be going for the win. After reading/hearing some statements from the Slovenian camp, I get the feeling they did cook up a scheme to be competitive. It might mostly rely on 3 point shooting since we still lack center strength for any inside depth. Either way the whole team has been positive about the upcoming battle and will be wanting to prove themselves.

Goran Dragic says our advantage is team play and the fans. Plus a good shooting night would be great. So I pray to the Basketball Gods it all goes in. He knows most of the pressure will be directed at him again.

" I'm used to the pressure, it's nothing new for me. We'll give it our best, fight to the best of our abilities and see where it gets us."

Not that he's being unrealistic:

" I'm a realist. I won't say I don't believe it possible, I think there's always a chance, if we have a crazy shooting streak or something. On paper they're flat out better then us, with superior players, but you never know. There was a study that showed they (USA) lose something like one in three games in elimination rounds so who knows, this could be it."

"They are a tough, athletic team, tall and very fast. We'll need to keep our turnovers to a minimum, focus on boxing out and grabbing defensive rebounds, but that gets tough after a minute of relentless attack."

As for the Americans, they seem to be taking this opponent seriously as well. Coach K pointed out the team play as well and mentioned perimeter shooting being one of the things they'll watch out for. He added Slovenia is one of the top teams at this tournament. Stephen Curry was also very flattering in offering his opinion about Slovenia:

Slovenia has a capable team that could surprise us, if we're not playing our best. It's no walk in the park. We need to give it all and play our game, being aggressive from the start. They know how we play so it's up to us to set and dictate the pace. As the final stages of the tournament approach, we need to up our game even further."

This might just be politeness and it would be in Slovenia's best interest if team USA come in underestimating us. There were some reports though that USA had an extra long practice yesterday, mostly working on their perimeter shooting.

Steph goes on and the praise he has for Goran is by no means just a courtesy:

Goran has proven himself in the NBA, I know him well. He can run the team and attack himself, not afraid to take the responsibility or carry the team if he has to."

He also said some kind words about Lil' Dragon/Dragonite/Dragonball Z/Zoki/Zole, Zoran Dragic and the rest of the team:

I didn't know about his brother beforehand but after seeing him play in the friendly game and during this tournament it's safe to say he's a dangerous opponent. Those are the two players we'll need to focus on though there are others that can cause trouble. They have a number of good shooters, all of the guards help set up the offense so we're well aware of their strengths. We know them well as we've played at Gran Canaria, but this is a different team, although they were playing well back then too. We need to focus on our game-plan and stick to it.

Will Slovenia prevail? Maybe not, but if Team Slovenia says they can beat them and Team USA says we're a tough opponent, then I can hold on to that minimal % of hope everything goes our way today.

BONUS news you should thank Jogi for (:

+ Goran's take on the interest Zoran is attracting from the NBA:

That's all rumor at this point, not that I know much about it. Some agents were inquiring, there's definite interest so we'll see what happens but there is the buy-out clause to think about. We'll see if any team is willing to pay it.

++ Touching on the topic of Australia's calculation that blew up in their face against Turkey, Goran congratulated Emir Preldzic (his teammate at the start of his career in Slovan) on making the winning shot.