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The USA Is in Nice Place Getting into Spherical 2 of the World Cup. So Are Many Different Groups

U.S. guard Jalen Brunson (11) reacts after a dunk over Jordan center Ahmad Dwairi (44) during the first half of a Basketball World Cup group C match in Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)Michael ConroyMANILA, Philippines (AP) — The opponent names will become more recognizable for USA Basketball now. Nikola Vucevic awaits

The USA Is in Nice Place Getting into Spherical 2 of the World Cup. So Are Many Different Groups

Michael Conroy

U.S. guard Jalen Brunson (11) reacts after a dunk over Jordan heart Ahmad Dwairi (44) through the first half of a Basketball World Cup group C match in Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (AP Picture/Michael Conroy)Michael Conroy

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The opponent names will grow to be extra recognizable for USA Basketball now. Nikola Vucevic awaits on Friday, Jonas Valanciunas on Sunday, and if the People preserve progressing by way of this FIBA World Cup the challenges will solely get harder.

To that, they are saying this: Good.

Second-round play on the World Cup begins Friday, with a 32-team subject to begin the event now all the way down to 16 contenders for the Naismith Trophy. The U.S. is one in all eight groups with 3-0 information, and people are the groups which have the best path to the quarterfinals.

“There’s an instantaneous respect degree from guys going in opposition to them within the NBA,” U.S. coach Steve Kerr stated. “The familiarity actually helps as properly. The onerous half is once you go right into a recreation and there’s an excellent participant who these guys don’t know, and he’s acquired a final title with numerous letters, and you must check with him as No. 5 or no matter and our guys aren’t prepared for a way good this participant is. That’s an enormous problem on this event.”

Not anymore. No person might want to Google a lot of the greatest gamers on the groups that made Spherical 2. Luka Doncic is headed there, together with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Karl-Anthony Cities, Dennis Schroder, Patty Mills, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Vucevic and Valanciunas — amongst others.

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In Spherical 2, the U.S. performs Montenegro on Friday and Lithuania on Sunday.

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“For us as a rustic, to get to play in opposition to the U.S. might be an enormous factor,” stated Vucevic, Montenegro’s greatest participant. “Now we have to go on the market and present our greatest … and revel in that recreation.”

Becoming a member of the U.S. in Spherical 2 with 3-0 information out of group play are Slovenia, defending World Cup champion Spain, Canada, Germany, Serbia, the Dominican Republic and Lithuania. For these eight groups, the duty is this straightforward: Win two video games this weekend, and the quarterfinals are sure. Every might additionally lose one in all their subsequent two video games and nonetheless advance.

Additionally within the second-round subject are eight groups that superior with 2-1 information: Montenegro, Greece, Italy, Puerto Rico, Australia, Georgia, Brazil and Latvia.

The People are the one crew within the event which have received each recreation to date by at the least 27 factors. Canada’s closest win margin to date is 26; Lithuania’s is 20.

“Nothing adjustments,” U.S. captain Jalen Brunson stated. “The method must be the identical. It’s nearly the knockout stage, and we method the sport prefer it’s our final recreation each recreation. We’ve acquired to maintain that very same mentality. There’s simply much more at stake now.”

There’s extra than simply the World Cup at stake, even.

Australia has already certified for subsequent 12 months’s Paris Olympics. All 15 remaining second-round groups are nonetheless within the combine to clinch an computerized berth in these video games primarily based on their end right here; two of the 5 Americas groups will get Olympic spots, two of the ten European groups left will get them as properly.

For these groups that preserve profitable, the Olympic spots will deal with themselves.

“Our objective, our first objective, was to win the group stage,” stated Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada’s high participant and one in all two present All-NBA gamers within the event — Doncic, the Dallas star who leads Slovenia, being the opposite. “However we’re not executed. We’re not glad. And we’ve 5 extra video games to attempt to go win.”

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Canada is bidding for its first World Cup medal ever. There might be at the least two groups on the medal podium that didn’t get there on the final World Cup in 2019; Spain — which has an 11-game World Cup profitable streak — remains to be alive, however silver medalist Argentina didn’t qualify for this event and bronze medalist France was ousted in Spherical 1.

“Our objective for this season was to make it to the quarterfinals after which loosen up and see what occurs,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo stated. “It’s going to be a hell of a problem.”

So far as the varied permutations go to advance, the U.S. doesn’t appear that all for something apart from the obvious path – win Friday, win Sunday and go into the quarterfinals unbeaten coming into the win-or-else spherical.

“Once you put this uniform on, dropping’s not likely an possibility,” U.S. guard Tyrese Haliburton stated. “Each recreation holds actual weight. It’s severe for us. We’re not taking a look at it as, ‘Oh, if we lose, we are able to nonetheless win it.’ It’s nearly enhancing each recreation.”


A number of the most intriguing second-round matchups:

— Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, Friday at Manila: Regional rivals and each most likely want a win to maintain life like hopes of getting an computerized Olympic berth.

— Italy vs. Serbia, Friday at Manila: Italy has received the final two conferences, together with a victory in Belgrade to go to the Tokyo Olympics (and knock Serbia out) and a win in final 12 months’s EuroBasket opening knockout stage.

— Slovenia vs. Australia, Friday at Okinawa: A rematch of the Tokyo Olympics bronze-medal recreation, received by Australia.

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— Lithuania vs. U.S., Sunday at Manila: Lithuania’s super-proud basketball historical past contains beating the People on the 1998 world championships (the U.S. had no NBA gamers due to a lockout) and on the 2004 Athens Olympics.

— Canada vs. Spain, Sunday at Jakarta: The upstart Canadians in opposition to the defending champions.


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