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U.S. Finishes Group Play With A Perfect Record

Saturday's opponent: Mexico

James Harden led the way for the U.S. against Ukraine with 17 points.
James Harden led the way for the U.S. against Ukraine with 17 points.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It still took the U.S. a bit to shake off Mike Fratello's Ukraine squad, but ultimately Team USA pulled away and won by 24, 95-71.

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James Harden scored 17, Steph Curry had 14, Anthony Davis 12, DeMarcus Cousins and Kyrie Irving and Kenneth Faried had 10.

Ukraine had less turnovers than the other teams have against the Americans, with just 17.

Curry was 3-4 from three point range, which was good to see.

The worst part was Kyrie Irving taking a hard spill, but he said he's not going to sit.

The U.S. moves on to the knockout stage at 5-0. Joining Team USA in Barcelona are Mexico, France, Croatia, The Dominican Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Senegal, New Zealand, Lithuania, Serbia, Greece, Turkey, Australia, Brazil and Argentina.

The U.S. opens with Mexico on Saturday at 10 a.m.

All things considered, while a couple of these teams aren't as potent as the rest, for the most part, this is a really good field with some excellent teams.

On the U.S. side of the bracket, the Barcelona bracket, assuming they beat Mexico, Team USA will get the winner of the D.R. vs. Slovenia.

New Zealand will get Lithuania and the winner of that game will get the winner of Turkey vs. Australia.

Just guessing, but from here it looks like the U.S., Slovenia, Lithuania and Turkey.

In the Madrid bracket, Spain probably has a tougher slog. Spain opens with Croatia and gets the winner of France vs. Senegal, which should be France.

On the other side, Serbia and Greece play to get the winner of Brazil vs. Argentina.

Realistically, one could probably rule the following teams out of medal contention: Mexico, the D.R., Senegal, and that's about it.

It's worth bearing in mind that Turkey has set a goal of meeting the U.S. in the event's Final Four. Lithuania may have something to say about that, but it could be Turkey.

Naturally there's some controversy: Phoenix Sun Goran Dragic thinks the Aussies threw the game to Angola to miss playing the Americans in the quarterfinals. Aussie legend Andrew Gaze warned earlier about pushing their luck.

A small but sweet note: folks in the Philippines have a jones for basketball like nowhere else. So the win over Senegal was absolutely huge for them. There must have been a massive party back home after that.

Krzyzewski: USA fit and firing