The Nigerian Men’s Basketball team are on mission to at least get a podium finish as the long-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympics takes-off officially on Friday evening.
The D’Tigers will begin their campaign facing the Boomers (Australia) very early on Sunday morning. This will be the 2nd meeting between these sides after they faced-off about a week ago in a pre-olympics exhibition game, where Nigeria were ridiculously beaten 108-69.
Going into this game we have some prominent NBA stars like Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, and Aaron Baynes for Australia while Nigeria are parading NBA Champion Jordan Nwora, Precious Achiuwa, Jahlil Okafor, Chimeze Metu and three others. Both countries has a rich list of NBA players going to the competition.
It was an history making exhibition for Nigeria, who defeated world number 1 and 4, USA 90-87 and Argentina 94-71 in two games.
The Nigerians have plenty of NBA players in their ranks, that is what could work for them as they will look to capitalize on that in their opening game on Sunday. With coach Mike Brown in charge, they rely on size and shooting and will be hoping they can be sharp on those fronts against a superior Australian side.
With the likes of Gabe Vincent who proved his 3-point ability against team USA dropping 6/8 from beyond the arc and Precious Achiuwa who will be remembered for his poster block on Kevin Durant in that game, D’Tigers have key-players. They will need to get going from the tip-off, because the Boomers won’t give any margin for error.
A quick look into the team news.
The D’Tigers of Nigeria will likely field the same starting lineup that was on court against the USA and Argentina during exhibition games.
Minnesota Timberwolves player Josh Okogie and Gabe Vincent of the Miami Heat will likely start as guards. Meanwhile, Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala will start alongside Ike Nwamu on the frontcourt.
From the reserves, Jahlil Okafor, Caleb Agada and Chimezie Metu will likely play the most minutes.
For the Australian national team
Joe Ingles and Patty Mills will be key stars for the team as they aim continue from where they stopped about a week ago. The likes of Matisse Thybulle and Aron Baynes will also need to step up.
No doubts the Aussies have tremendous firepower and experience in their ranks and will have to make sure they play to their potential. They are one of the few teams who can upset the likes of Team USA and France.
Don’t forget the Boomers are the number 3 ranked team in FIBA rankings behind the USA and Spain.
A quick look into team news for Australia
The Australians are likely to play their best starting five for this game. The backcourt will likely feature San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills and former Cleveland Cavaliers player Matthew Dellavedova, while Joe Ingles, Jack Landale and Aron Baynes will complete the rest of the lineup.
Meanwhile, Matisse Thybulle, Dante Exum, and Nick Kay will likely play key minutes off the bench.