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Olympics 2021 Men's Basketball: Italy vs Australia Prediction & Match Preview - July 28th, 2021

Australia's leader Joe Ingles
Australia's leader Joe Ingles
Miles Lockhart

After opening wins for both Italy and Australia at the Tokyo Olympics, the two sides match up on Wednesday with the hope of taking a commanding position atop Group B.

The Boomers (Australia) came into the tournament on the back of an impressive win against Team USA in a friendly and are favorites to challenge the Americans in the medal positions. Joe Ingles and Patty Mills are their standout stars, though Philadelphia 76ers youngster Matisse Thybulle impressed off the bench at the weekend against Nigeria.

Meanwhile for Italy, they will be fearless against the favored Australians after their shooting display against Germany. They will be looking to counter Australia with their small-ball lineup and Danilo Gallinari's scoring off the bench.

Match Details

Fixture - Italy vs Australia | 2020 Tokyo Olympics Basketball

Date & Time - Wednesday, July 28th; 5:20 PM JST (July 28th; 4:20 AM ET).

Venue - Saitama Super Arena, Tokyo

Italy Preview

Italy won their opening matchup against Germany
Italy won their opening matchup against Germany

A late 12-0 run helped Italy win their opening fixture of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics against Germany in what was a thrilling contest. As a team, the Italians were extremely efficient on offense, shooting at 50% from the field and 48% from beyond the arc.

On the other end of the court, Italy's defense grabbed more steals (11) and conceded fewer points in the paint compared to their opponents. Forward Simone Fontecchio led the scoring with 20 points, connecting with all five of his three-point efforts, while Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari provided 18 from the bench.

While Germany are a solid team, the Italians will need to continue their hot scoring form if they are to overcome Australia's wealth of NBA talent.

Also Check out: Italy Men's Olympic Basketball Team 2021

Team News: Italy

Italy will most likely stick with the small-ball lineup they used in their opening win. Golden State Warriors guard Nico Mannion started in the backcourt alongside Stefano Tonut and tallied ten points to go with his seven assists.

Fontecchio, Mavericks forward Melli and Michele Vitali made up the Italian frontcourt, however, the latter played just over seven minutes in the contest. Gallinari played 25 minutes off the sideline and made six of his nine field-goal attempts. Fellow forward Achille Polonara also played over 20 minutes in the game, though struggled to shoot the ball.

Italy Predicted Lineup

Point Guard - Nico Mannion | Shooting Guard - Stefano Tonut | Small Forward - Simone Fontecchio | Power Forward - Michele Vitali | Center - Nicolo Melli

Australia Preview

Australia secured a comfortable win over Nigeria in their opener
Australia secured a comfortable win over Nigeria in their opener

Although the Nigerians ran them close for most of their opening fixture, an impressive fourth quarter from Australia helped the Boomers get off to a winning start. San Antonio Spurs star Patty Mills led the line with 25 points, six assists and four steals. He shot at 62% from downtown, draining five threes in the contest while NBA guard Joe Ingles tallied eleven points.

Australia are looking to compete for a medal at the Tokyo Olympics and will hope to top Group B. They stifled Nigeria's offense and used their size as an advantage in the paint with the likes of Aron Baynes and Jock Landale. While their shooting on the whole was poor from the field (39%), they will have time to improve by the knockout stages and were able to make 17 of their 19 free-throws.

Also Check out: Australian Olympic Basketball Team 2021

Team News: Australia

Australia will hope to use their size in the frontcourt to overrun the Italians, as well as being able to draw on NBA talent from the bench in Dante Exum and Matisse Thybulle. Thybulle tallied an impressive five steals to go along with his seven points and four rebounds on 23 minutes and had the team's second-best +/-.

Their starting lineup should remain the same, with Patty Mills seeing the most minutes against Nigeria (34), while Utah Jazz swingman Joe Ingles filled in at small forward to make room for Matthew Dellavedova in the backcourt. Baynes and Landale are likely to keep their places too.

Australia Predicted Lineup

Point Guard - Patty Mills | Shooting Guard - Matthew Dellavedova | Small Forward - Joe Ingles | Power Forward - Aron Baynes | Center - Jock Landale

Italy vs Australia Prediction

This is likely to be a closely-fought encounter between two teams hoping to top the group. Both have excellent shooters from beyond the arc and NBA stars as their leaders.

Although Italy impressed in their opener, Australia will come into this fixture as favorites and should deliver. Their offense was below par against Nigeria and it can be expected to improve for this tougher matchup. Expect Joe Ingles and Patty Mills to step up again.

Where to watch Italy vs Australia

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be shown in Australia on Channel Seven, 7two and 7mate. Australian basketball fans can also watch the Games on streaming platform 7Plus.

Eurosport has vast coverage of basketball in Europe, with contests available to view on streaming platforms as well as on TV. In the US, NBC are the sole distributor of Olympic content this summer.

Also Read : Tokyo Olympic Basketball teams and Players


Edited by Prem Deshpande

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