The United States will go for its fourth consecutive men’s basketball gold medal late on Friday evening. Despite a rocky start — both to their exhibition slate in the lead-up to the Olympics and the tournament in Tokyo — Team USA managed to get to the gold medal game after taking down Australia earlier this week.
Their tallest test yet, however, stands between themselves and a gold. While France is not the highest-ranked team that the Americans have played in this tournament, they have had the United States’ number in recent years. The French knocked out the Americans in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2019 and handed them a loss in their first group play game at the Tokyo Olympics. Between Rudy Gobert’s size, Nic Batum’s general Nic Batum-ness, a battle-tested backcourt with Evan Fournier and Nando de Colo, and a bench with NBA-caliber talent, France both matches up well against the United States and are not afraid of the three-time defending champions.
But from Team USA’s perspective, plenty has changed since these two teams met at the start of the Games. The Americans have gotten better and better as the tournament has gone on, knocking off longtime international foe Spain and Australia in the quarterfinals and semifinals. If the United States’ collection of offensive maestros are able to knock down shots, it’s hard to see the French getting a gold medal. But of course, they’ve managed to prevent Team USA from doing this before, so they have warranted optimism in their ability to get the job done.
TIP TIME: Friday, August 6, 10:30 p.m. ET
TV CHANNEL: NBC