The USA is in nice place coming into Spherical 2 of the World Cup. So are many different groups.

Sports activities Information

Becoming a member of the U.S. in Spherical 2 with 3-0 data out of group play are Slovenia, defending World Cup champion Spain, Canada, Germany, Serbia, the Dominican Republic and Lithuania.

U.S. guard Jalen Brunson reacts after a dunk over Jordan center Ahmad Dwairi during the first half of a Basketball World Cup group C match.
U.S. guard Jalen Brunson (11) reacts after a dunk over Jordan middle Ahmad Dwairi (44) throughout the first half of a Basketball World Cup group C match in Manila, Philippines Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. AP Photograph/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 hold progressing by way of this FIBA World Cup the challenges will solely get harder.

To that, they are saying this: Good.

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Second-round play on the World Cup begins Friday, with a 32-team area to start out the match now all the way down to 16 contenders for the Naismith Trophy. The U.S. is certainly one of eight groups with 3-0 data, and people are the groups which have the simplest path to the quarterfinals.

“There’s a right away respect stage from guys going towards them within the NBA,” U.S. coach Steve Kerr stated. “The familiarity actually helps as effectively. The onerous half is while you go right into a sport and there’s an ideal participant who these guys don’t know, and he’s received a final title with a lot of letters, and it’s important to consult 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 match.”

Not anymore. No one might want to Google a lot of the finest 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.

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

“For us as a rustic, to get to play towards the U.S. will probably be an enormous factor,” stated Vucevic, Montenegro’s finest participant. “We’ve got to go on the market and present our greatest … and revel in that sport.”

Becoming a member of the U.S. in Spherical 2 with 3-0 data 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 may additionally lose certainly one of their subsequent two video games and nonetheless advance.

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

The People are the one crew within the match which have received each sport thus far by a minimum of 27 factors. Canada’s closest win margin thus far is 26; Lithuania’s is 20.

“Nothing modifications,” U.S. captain Jalen Brunson stated. “The method needs to be the identical. It’s virtually the knockout stage, and we method the sport prefer it’s our final sport each sport. We’ve received 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 automated berth in these video games based mostly 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 effectively.

For these groups that hold profitable, the Olympic spots will care for themselves.

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

Canada is bidding for its first World Cup medal ever. There will probably be a minimum of 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 — continues to be alive, however silver medalist Argentina didn’t qualify for this match and bronze medalist France was ousted in Spherical 1.

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

So far as the assorted 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.

“While you put this uniform on, shedding’s probably not an choice,” U.S. guard Tyrese Haliburton stated. “Each sport holds actual weight. It’s critical 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 sport.”

A few of the most intriguing second-round matchups:

  • Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, Friday at Manila: Regional rivals and each in all probability want a win to maintain practical hopes of getting an automated 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 sport, received by Australia.
  • 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 towards the defending champions.