It wasn't quite as easy as Sunday's tournament-opening laugher against the United Arab Emirates, but the U.S. men's national team didn't have to break much of a sweat in dispatching the Czech Republic in their second group-stage game, 96-53. The U.S. team led 20-9 after the first quarter and after extending that lead to 41-22 at halftime, they stretched it to 66-38 after three quarters, before using their biggest quarter of the game (30-15) to put the icing on the cake of their dominant performance.
This time, Team USA was led by current and future All-American Doug McDermott (Creighton), who torched the Czechs for 28 points on 8/15 shooting, along with 10 rebounds. It probably could have been an even more dominant performance, too -- McDermott shot an unusually-poor 2/7 from deep in the game. McDermott received support from Cory Jefferson (Baylor), who had 10 points (on 5/9 shooting) and 15 rebounds, and Luke Hancock (Louisville), who chipped in 15 points (on 5/10 shooting from three-point range). Team USA's shooting wasn't as crisp in this game as it was against the UAE (they shot just 35/82, 43% in this game), likely a product of both the quick turnaround from that game and the fact that the Czechs weren't quite the epic pushovers that the UAE were. Rebounding remained a significant advantage for the Americans, though -- they put up a 62-29 advantage on the boards, including 27 offensive rebounds.
Unfortunately, our man Whitey wasn't as productive in this game as he was in the game against the UAE. White had just 2 points (on 1/4 shooting -- and no free throw attempts) and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes of action. He also had 3 turnovers and 3 fouls in that span. So yeah: not a great day for White. The good news for White? Other than Jefferson (who's been a beast through two games so far), the other USA "bigs" aren't exactly lighting things up, either. Adreian Payne rebounded from his almost-invisible performance against the UAE to play 9 minutes in this game and while he did some good things in that brief span of time (he crammed in 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block), he also somehow managed to pick up 4 fouls and turn the ball over twice. Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati) had 7 points (on 2/9 shooting) and 1 rebound in 15 minutes of action and Alex Kirk (New Mexico) had 2 points and 4 rebounds in 7 minutes of play. My hunch is that White will still get plenty of chances to prove his value in the next few games.
Up next for the U.S. is Sweden on Wednesday, available on tape delay on ESPNU at 6pm CT on Wednesday and again at 6am CT on ESPNU on Thursday. The ESPNU announcer was trying to talk up Sweden as being a semi-significant step up in quality for the U.S. after their romps over the UAE and the Czech Republic, but based on current results at this tournament they don't appear to be a huge upgrade from those teams. Sweden is 0-2 in Pool C so far, having lost by 15 to Canada in their opener and by 17 to Australia in their second game. Canada and Australia are the other two decent teams in this pool, so there's no shame in losing to them, but it doesn't appear that Sweden gave either team too much difficulty. Sweden shouldn't be quite as physically overmatched as the UAE and Czech Republic were, though -- they have nine players listed at 6'7" or higher (in comparison, the UAE had only one player listed as tall as 6'7").