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“I think that causes a little problem for them, being different games. So in that situation, we’ve got a little advantage, so it’s good for us.”

Neither of the remaining pool opponents has the talent to exploit that. The main interest in the Iran game comes from local journalists trying to hype it because of the political tensions between the countries, but Krzyzewski downplayed that.

“This is a sporting event,” he said. “We have respect for Iran. I actually played in Iran in the 1970s when I was on the U.S. Armed Forces team. I have great feelings for their country. They’re sportsmen and so are we. We’ll have a great game.”

It shouldn’t be close, but another might be later in the tournament. The Olympic team never had that concern, but these Americans say they don’t mind.

“We can’t worry about how much we win by, winning the same fashion as other USA teams. All of that’s out the window,” Billups said. “All we need to do is get wins. Win every game we can and we’ll worry about everything else later.”