The U.S. men’s basketball team is ensuring it will be tested before this summer’s FIBA World Cup.
After scheduling pre-World Cup games against top-ranked Spain and Slovenia (possibly with Luka Doncic) this August, USA Basketball announced its men’s team will also play Greece (possibly with Giannis Antetokounmpo) and Germany leading up to the World Cup, which is Aug. 25-Sept. 10 and co-hosted by Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines.
The pre-World Cup schedule:
Aug. 12 — USA vs. Slovenia in Malaga, Spain
Aug. 13 — USA vs. Spain in Malaga
Aug. 18 — USA vs. Greece in Abu Dhabi
Aug. 20 — USA vs. Germany in Abu Dhabi
The U.S. will learn its group opponents for the 32-team World Cup in the April 29 draw. The U.S. roster for the World Cup will likely be named in the summer.
At the last men’s World Cup in 2019, the U.S. lost twice and finished seventh overall, its worst major tournament result ever. That team had just two reigning NBA All-Stars and one player with Olympic experience.
The U.S fielded a stronger roster for the Tokyo Olympics. Though it lost an Olympic game for the first time since 2004 (to France in group play), it still won a fourth consecutive Olympic title.
At the World Cup, the top two teams from North and South America will qualify for the 2024 Paris Games. The rest can still make it to Paris through one of four last-chance, winner-take-all qualifying tournaments, likely to take place in June 2024.
Steve Kerr succeeded Gregg Popovich as U.S. head coach following the Tokyo Games.
This past November, the U.S. men dropped out of the No. 1 spot in FIBA’s world rankings for the first time since 2010. Spain, coming off a European title, displaced the U.S. by a slim margin. The U.S. beat Spain in the Tokyo Olympic quarterfinals.
Doncic led Slovenia to its first Olympic basketball berth in 2021. Slovenia, with a population of 2.1 million, became the smallest nation by current population to participate in an Olympic men’s basketball tournament since Estonia and Latvia in 1936.
The Slovenians beat Argentina and Spain in Olympic group play, then lost in the semifinals to France and the bronze-medal game to Australia.
Greece’s men’s basketball team last qualified for the Olympics in 2008, two years after beating the U.S. in the FIBA World Cup semifinals. In 2019, the U.S. beat an Antetokounmpo-led Greece team 69-53 at the World Cup.
In 2021, Greece, without Antetokounmpo as he was playing in the NBA playoffs, lost a winner-goes-to-the-Olympics game against the Czech Republic.
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