MELBOURNE, Australia -- Team USA coach Gregg Popovich sees Australia as a title threat at the upcoming World Cup in China.
He'll soon find out how much of a threat when the teams meet Thursday in the first of two exhibition games in Melbourne. A record Australian basketball crowd of 50,000 is expected for the match at Marvel Stadium. The second game is set for Saturday.
"Huge, huge threat,'' Popovich said of the Boomers on Tuesday. "They are one of the teams that can win the whole thing, without a doubt. I'm not saying that because I'm here. It's just a fact.
"They've been close for several years, and they are hungry. They are talented. They have the toughness and physicality to go with it. I think they are one of the top contenders without a doubt.''
"We don't care. We want to be here and are putting in the time to be here and we definitely take that as motivation,'' Walker said Wednesday. "We have a bunch of guys who don't mind being the underdogs. We are hungry, and we are going to go out there to try and win a gold medal.''
"I take pride in being a leader and guys looking to me and I'm here to set the tempo and bring my experience and energy,'' he said.
Australia, meanwhile, hopes to end 55 years of losses against the U.S. The Americans have won all 25 games against Australia since 1964.