What will be the average margin of victory for the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team? And how many opposing players will be asked for their autographs?

By Mike Tierney, Special to Universal Sports

No Dwight Howard. No Derrick Rose. No Dwyane Wade. No Chris Bosh.

No problem — or so the U.S. basketball team hopes as it laces up for another run at Olympic gold. With all of the absentees, largely attributed to injuries, nobody is attaching the Dream Team label to the Americans. But even with star power diminished slightly– and, more importantly, only one center on the 12-man roster — the U.S. camp maintains that its experience and versatility will win the day.

The NBA champion Miami Heat were expected to account for one-fourth of the squad. Only LeBron James remains. Along with “U-S-A” chants, we might hear some “O-K-C.” The runner-up Oklahoma City Thunder landed three spots — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Hardin. The presence of those young guns might suggest a team shy of familiarity with the international style, but 10 Americans have gotten a taste of the global game as members of the national team.

This version will not replicate the original Dream Team of 20 years ago, whose average margin of victory was 44 points. Ultimately, all that matters is the color of medal, and this bunch will look good in gold.

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