Three games against Taiwan, Turkey, and Egypt, three victories for Team USA and team captain (and soon to be Marquette freshman) Markus Howard in the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship.
The Baby Nats are running through the competition to this point, winning by an average margin of victory of 46 points. They’re winning in the fancy math departments, too. Here’s the Four Factors report for Team USA through three games:
Effective Field Goal Percentage: USA - 53.6%; Opponents - 37.6%
Turnover Rate: USA - 18.9%; Opponents - 28.4%
Offensive Rebounding Rate: USA - 50.8%; Opponents - 20.9%
Free Throw Rate: USA - 35.3%; Opponents - 21.7%
Points Per Possession: USA - 1.24; Opponents - 0.66
Howard himself is definitely one of the key contributors to all of this dominance. In addition to his 14/3/4 and a steal averages, Howard might be singlehandedly propping up Team USA’s eFG%. Howard is shooting a really great 50% overall, and a whopping 52.9% from long range. Yes, that’s right, the 6’ tall guard has bombed in nine of his 17 long ball attempts in the first three games, giving him a personal eFG% of 65%. Yeah. I know, right?
Team USA opens knockout play on Tuesday, when they take on Argentina. FIBA’s website lists it as the first game of the day, but they don’t officially list a time for the game yet. The Argentinian team is a surprising 0-3 in group play, losing by 10 to Spain, by 17 to Lithuania, and by 9 to Mali. Yes, that’s right, the team of 17 year olds that have grown up idolizing Manu Ginobili lost to Mali, a country with one-third the population and, to put it simply, isn't a global power when it comes to hoops.