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FIBA World Cup: Nigeria and Korea Battle to Salvage Some Pride


FIBA World Cup: Nigeria and Korea Battle to Salvage Some Pride

Korea Republic vs Nigeria

After suffering two losses in a row, both Korea and Nigeria are not going to make it in the second round of the FIBA World Cup.

South Korea endured back-to-back blowout defeats in their games against Argentina and Russia while Nigeria also experienced the same fate in Group B.

Both of these teams came in the tournament with hopes of upsetting their powerhouse rivals. However, that didn’t come into fruition as they struggled mightily on offence in their respective games.

As these teams are trying to salvage some pride going into the classification round, they are hoping to come away with a win this time as they conclude the group phase games.

SBOBET gives you a sneak peek on this last group phase match in Group B.

Talking Points

Josh Okogie and who else for Nigeria?

After lording over stiff competition in the FIBA Africas, the men in green and white made their way to the big dance. Even if their FIBA World Cup 2019 odds of going into the second round were low, Nigeria did all they could to put up a good fight against Argentina and Russia.

While their loss against Argentina being somewhat a foregone conclusion, the same can’t be said against their game against the Russians. For the most part, the Nigerians have had the upper hand up until the last few minutes.

Trailing by eight points within six minutes left, Russia unleashed a 10-0 blast to take the lead for good. It was clutch baskets by Mikhail Kulagin and former NBA draftee Sergey Karasev that doomed the Nigerians.

Minnesota Timberwolves sophomore Josh Okogie continues to improve over the offseason. During the last NBA Summer League, Okogie got to showcase his all-around skills as he led the Timberwolves to four straight wins in the tournament.

Overall, he showed great poise along with his boundless energy and that continues to show in the World Cup as he provided us some of the best FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

In Nigeria’s campaign so far, the former Georgia Tech alum averaged 18 points and 4.5 assists per game emerging as their number one scoring option. However, the lack of consistent support particularly from his NBA-calibre teammates did not help their cause.

Fellow NBA-ers Al Farouq-Aminu and Ekpe Udoh failed to show up for Nigeria. Aminu only averaged 6.5 points per game in two contests while Udoh failed to score a single point after chipping in only three in their game against Argentina.

Despite their disappointing showings, it’s never too late for these two players to make amends in the classification round as they try to close out their campaign on a good note.

Korea’s offensive woes

South Korea was expected to light up the scoreboard in the World Cup, but that has not been the case so far two games in.

The Sang Shik Kim-mentored club struggled in their shooting percentages, making only 32-per cent of their shots against Argentina and 42-per cent in their match against the Russians.

Ricardo Ratliffe has been the only consistent option at the offensive end for the Koreans. The hefty reinforcement posted norms of 25 points and 12.5 rebounds on 50-per cent shooting. His dominance in the interior had kept the Asian powerhouse afloat for the most part.

In their first two games, South Korea only had two players scoring in double digits with Ratliffe being one of them. Deadshot guards Junghyun Lee and Daesung Lee managed to lead the locals in points but their shooting efficiency were left to be desired.

With their hopes of winning a World Cup medal being unlikely — perhaps the Koreans can turn on their focus into making the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — and they can do so if they fare better in the next few games.

Poland’s victory against China last night gave all Asian teams (except Japan since they’re the hosts) a sliver of hope on that regard. For their best case scenario, China would have to lose against Venezuela and the Koreans would have to win their next games to be the highest ranked Asian team in the tournament.

Which is why getting a victory against the dangerous Nigeria team is imperative and they hope to fire on all cylinders this time around.

History

Nigeria have already competed in three World Cups. They managed to finish 13th and 14th respectively in the tournament’s 1998 and 2006 editions.

Korea, on the other hand, are still looking for their first World Cup win in a long while. They have made seven total appearances, but they never won any medals.

Betting Tip

Nigeria Asian Handicap -13.00 @ 2.08

Given their recent form and cast of players, Nigeria are the hot favourites to win this game to wrap up the group stage. Coach Alexander Nwora’s squad has the tools to stop the Korean’s inside-out attack with their versatile and athletic defenders.

It’s hard to imagine any Korean that can stop the scoring trio of Josh Okogie, Nnamdi Vincent, and Jordan Nwora.  And if somehow guys like Al Farouq-Aminu and Ekpe Udoh can get their offence going, the Nigerians are guaranteed to score their first victory of the tournament.

 

 

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