Who will win the speed war between Japan and Korea?
Both teams are entering this fixture undefeated, but more than preserving their unblemished slates, Japan and Korea want to book their seats in the Quarter-Finals and move one step closer to qualifying for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup later this year. This should be an intense battle, of course, given how both sides have dominated their previous two opponents and how they play very similarly to each other. Without a doubt, speed will be the name of the game here, and whoever wins this speed battle should be the ones to walk away with tickets to the Final 8.
Key Matchups: The marquee matchup here will certainly be the one between wingmen Chikara Tanaka of Japan and Lee SeungWoo of Korea. Lee has an edge in size over Tanaka, but the latter has the advantage in ball-handling and quickness. Tanaka has struggled a bit with his shot, making only 39% of his field goals, but once he settles into a rhythm, he's very tough to stop. Lee, meanwhile, has been a very efficient player for Korea. He connects on 60% of his field goals and averages close to 20.0 points per game. This should be an exciting shootout between two young stars.
Key Stats: The crucial aspect here will be the fastbreak. Japan are the best fastbreak scoring team right now with 25.5 fastbreak points per game, while Korea are not too shabby with 17.0. The Koreans have to get down on defense quickly and minimize their errors to stifle Japan's run-and-gun efforts. Both these teams are exceptional three-point shooting sides, too. Korea make 8.5 triples per game at a 44% rate, while Japan sink 7.0 triples per contest at a 39% rate. In particular, Korea will need to shadow Japan's top-scorer, Keisei Tominaga, while the Japanese have to put the shackles on Korea's top snipers Kim JaeHyeon and Kim JaeWon.