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Sunday Is Title Time For Either U.S.A. Or Serbia

The U.S. is a considerable favorite, but the Serbs are tough, have been through some real battles and are playing as well together as anyone in the field. Beating this team will take a championship effort.

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The U.S is going to count on Anthony Davis to control the inside game.
The U.S is going to count on Anthony Davis to control the inside game.
David Ramos

The bad news from the Lithuanian game was that Rudy Gay thinks he got a fractured jaw (the team doctors don't see it t. The good news is that he'll still play on Sunday against Serbia. And while some people are not giving Serbia a chance, don't you guys buy that load of hooey.  Serbia is playing well, playing together and capable of beating anyone, even the U.S.

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Coach K's not buying the hype.

"They're probably the hottest team, and they're playing at a high level. They have stars on their team, and Teodosic, I loved him when I saw him in the World Championships in '10, Bogdanovic is a rising star. Their big guys are good, they're well coached, and they're strong. They can hurt you from many different positions. They're just playing great basketball right now. Actually, it's beautiful to see. I hope I don't see that beauty [Sunday] night."

And while we've gotten used to thinking of Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, one of the less important but still very sad outcomes of the breakup of Yugoslavia was the end of one of the truly great basketball programs of all time.

Just think: Vlade Divac. Drazen Petrovic. Toni Kukoc.

This was a beautiful team. There's a great ESPN 30 for 30 called Once Brothers, about what they had and what was lost.

It was an incredible team that played truly beautiful basketball. It was looser, better shooting and freer in many ways than American basketball.

Serbia was part of that, and their team now is still pretty good.

The U.S. hasn't played Serbia as an independent nation, so questions like how to defend point guard Milos Teodosic are up in the air, and that guy's pretty good.

Serbia has also had a rather significant advantage in that nothing has come easy. This team has been beaten, has coalesced and has triumphed. It's impossible to understate what a big advantage that is.

The U.S. has a big job beating these guys. Anyone who tells you different is just not paying attention.