On The Eve Before US-Russia, Some Fightin' Words

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Tomorrow, Mike Krzyzewski and Team USA play Russia in the FIBA World Championship. If the thought of US-Russia reminds you of a certain game almost 40 years ago—you know, this one—then you're not alone. The topic has been brought up several times by reporters in Istanbul, and Russian head coach David Blatt had this to say about the disputed final finish:

There's a wonderful film about that, and I hate to say it as an American, but it looks like the Russians were right. The American team was not cheated. Funny things happened, but in reality it was fair.

When questioned about Blatt's comments, Krzyzewski expressed annoyance and said:

I mean, he's Russian. He coaches the Russian team, so he probably has that viewpoint. His eyes are clear now because there are no tears in them, so it's great. Whatever he thinks, he thinks. It has really absolutely no bearing on what we're trying to do tomorrow.

One problem with Krzyzewski's quote: Blatt isn't Russian. Born in Louisville and Princeton-educated, Blatt even has said that he cried when the USSR beat the U.S. (which would explain why Krzyzewski said there were no tears in his eyes). Blatt is just, as ESPN's Diamond Leung said, "an opinionated American who draws a paycheck from Russia."

Still, regardless of Blatt's nationality, a great historical rivalry again has some competitive vigor. Should be good for all parties. The two teams play tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. (EST).


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