Game 5 Preview
World Rank: 17
Player to Watch: With respect to Joel Anthony I'm going the easy route and focusing on Samuel Dalembert. He will be important in the match up with Rasho Nesterovic who led Slovenia with 26 points against Korea. Furthermore, Dalembert recently provided some good perspective on his adjustment to the international game and the state of the Canadian squad.
Recent News: The Canadian players don't care about what everyone thinks, they're confident.
Check out my look at Slovenia here.
Note from first game: After cruising to a big lead Slovenian held off a surging Korean squad for the victory. More importantly it will be interesting to see how the Slovenians handle the dreaded back-to-back. Is it an advantage to have a game under their belts? Time will tell.
Game 6 Preview
World Rank: 9 (Tied with Australia)
Player to Watch: The Germans have inarguably the best player in the tournament - Dirk Nowitzki. In the words of Simeon Rice, "He does what he do." Having settled that I'm intrigued by Germany's latest addition - Chris Kaman. Ultimately I'm not sure how I feel about guys playing for countries outside of you know, their own. I guess if I were a big World Cup guy it would make more sense. Regardless I'm intrigued to see how he meshes with a new team and a new set of rules.
Interesting Fact: Back in college if my friends and I liked to sometimes amuse ourselves with bad, fake German accents we would've had a ton of fun with the name Patrick Femerling. But we didn't.
Recent News: I'm still not entirely sure how a Canadian team that did not feature Steve Nash recently beat Nowitzki and company. I still expect Germany to make it to Beijing.
Check out my look at Cape Verde here.
Note from first game: New Zealand absolutely roughed up Cape Verde on Monday. And at the risk of angering the Tall Blacks I want to point out the fact that Germany is better. I have one prediction for the game: pain.
Game 7 Preview
Puerto Rico (Roster)
World Rank: 12
Player to Watch: I'm excited by the run and gun mentality of Juan Jose Barea, Carlos Arroyo and company. Yet I'm going to focus on lesser know Ricardo "Ricky" Sanchez of Idaho Stampede fame. Sounds like a big, mobile guy with a decent touch. More importantly I respect anyone who works hard in the D-League.
Interesting Fact: From what I can tell the Puerto Ricans have a better chance of making it to Beijing than say Cape Verde or Cameroon. But they're still a bit of a long shot. I'd like to see them bring their fast paced game to China, minus the whole ankle breaking Americans part of course.
Check out my look at Cameroon here. Please disregard my ill-fated upset special pick. Idiot.
Note from first game: I'd say the title of this article sums up Cameroon's chances nicely. Ouch.
Game 8 Preview
World Rank: 18
Player to Watch: This is my first big foray into international basketball but I'm pretty sure it's good to have guys who play for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Guys like Alex Ribiera Garcia and Murilo da Rosa. But I'm going with Tiago Splitter mainly because it's 2008 and the guy is still a mystery. He's a borderline legend at this point. And not in the British sense. They throw around the word legend all the time.
Interesting Fact: Is it just me or do Brazilians in general enjoy an aura of coolness?
Recent News: Brazil has a BYU connection going and if the Brazilians make it to Beijing there is some potential BYU/Utah bad blood if they face up against Australia and Andrew Bogut. Seems like a long shot though.
Check out my look at Lebanon here.
Note from first game: Any time a team lets its opponent shoot 73% over the course of a game it has a good chance of losing by 57 points. True story.