Spain also impressed in the quarterfinals, handing France a convincing 92-67 defeat as a 5 1/2-point favorite, and now has won its past three games by an average of 31.3 points. Spain, though, faces a monumental task to get past the Americans, whom it is winless against in 11 Olympic clashes, including losses in the gold medal games in 1984, 2008 and 2012.
Spain kept it close four years ago, dropping a 107-100 decision to the Americans at the London Olympics, and has stayed within 11 points of the United States in three of their past four Olympic matchups.
Friday’s other semifinal has the surprising Australians taking on Serbia as 3 1/2-point chalk.
Australia opened the Olympics as a distant +15000 wager on the odds to win the gold medal at the sportsbooks, but has emerged as the darling of this year’s Games.
The Boomers finished second in Group A with a 4-1 record before crushing Lithuania in the quarterfinals by a 90-64 score, lifting them to +1300 on the odds to win the tournament.
Serbia advanced to the semifinals after hanging on for an 86-83 win over Croatia on Wednesday. The Eagles stumbled in the group stage, which featured a fourth-quarter collapse in a 95-80 loss to Australia, and currently are listed at +1800 to win gold.
Thumbnail photo via Jeff Swinger/USA TODAY Sports Images