USA Men Learn Preliminary Opponents For 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup

-- USA Paired In Group C With Dominican Republic, Finland, New Zealand, Turkey And Ukraine "

Feb 3, 2014 - Barcelona, Spain

As the reigning world champion, the United States men will open their defense of the title at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup against first-time World Cup participant Finland in its opening game of preliminary round play on Aug. 30. FIBA conducted the official draw for the 2014 World Cup, which divided the 24 qualified teams into four preliminary round groups consisting of six teams each, today in Barcelona, Spain.

The 2014 USA Basketball Men's World Cup Team was drawn into preliminary round Group C along with teams from the Dominican Republic (FIBA Americas Zone fourth place finisher and ranked #14 in FIBA world rankings), Finland (FIBA European Zone ninth place finisher and ranked #39), New Zealand (FIBA Oceania Zone second place finisher and ranked #19), Turkey (FIBA European Zone 17th (tie) place finisher and ranked #7) and Ukraine (FIBA European Zone sixth place finisher and ranked #45).

The 2014 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain. The USA’s Group C preliminary round games will be played Aug. 30-Sept. 4 in Bilbao, Spain.

“I've been privileged to be the head coach of the USA team at three previous FIBA World Championships, and this is an incredibly exciting and competitive championship that is not easy to win,” said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who served as the USA World Championship head coach in 1990, 2006, and 2010, and has compiled a 23-3 overall record in the event. “The format of the 2014 World Cup is exciting, and every game has significant meaning. You begin with preliminary pool play and play games against the five teams placed in your group. You want to win your group so you advance with the highest seeding possible. Then it becomes like the NCAA Tournament where you have to win to keep advancing. While I'm confident the United States will field another competitive team that will represent our country proudly, winning the World Cup is no easy road.

“With teams around the world getting better each year, the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup promises to be one of the most competitive worlds ever. Spain as the host country will play on its home court and will have its fans in full support, which only makes them even more difficult to play. Argentina, Lithuania, France, Australia and Puerto Rico are all familiar foes that are immensely talented, and I'm sure they will compete for the world title. And you also have teams like Mexico, Iran and Angola, who might be lesser known internationally, but all three won their zone championships and so they cannot be underestimated. I'm sure of one thing, this will be a great World Cup.

“Our preliminary round group looks like an especially even group. We faced Turkey in the gold medal game of the 2010 World Championship, and we played an exhibition game against the Dominican Republic during our 2012 National Team tour, so we’re somewhat familiar with those national teams. And while we haven’t recently played the other three teams in our group – Finland, New Zealand and Ukraine – we have tremendous respect for them, as we do for every team that is competing in the 2014 World Cup. As we’ve seen in the last couple of World Championships, any team is capable of beating any other team,” added Krzyzewski.

Compositions of the other World Cup preliminary round groups are: Group A, which will play in Granada, consists of Brazil, Egypt, France, Iran, Serbia, and host Spain. Group B will play in Seville and features Argentina, Croatia, Greece, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Senegal. Group D games will be held in Gran Canaria and that group includes Angola, Australia, Lithuania, Mexico, Slovenia, and South Korea.

Of the five teams the USA men will face in Group C preliminary play, the USA has played the Dominican Republic, New Zealand and Turkey in prior World Championship action, and owns an overall 3-0 record against the three nations. The USA has never before faced Finland or Ukraine in a senior level FIBA competition.

The U.S. will open the 2014 World Cup on Aug. 30 against Finland, a team that earned its spot in the World Cup as a FIBA wild card selection. The Americans on Aug. 31 will meet Turkey in a rematch of the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal game, a contest in which the USA claimed an 81-64 victory. Following a day off on Sept. 1, the USA resumes play Sept. 2 facing FIBA Oceania representative New Zealand. The USA has played New Zealand once in World Cup play, earning a 110-62 victory in 2002. The U.S. will go against the Dominican Republic on Sept. 3. The USA most recently played the Dominicans during the 2012 USA National Team’s tour and earned a 113-59 decision on July 12, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nev. The USA will conclude its preliminary play on Sept. 4 facing Ukraine, a second team out of the FIBA European Zone. The USA has never faced Ukraine in World Cup or Olympic play.

Each team at the 2014 World Cup will play the other teams in its preliminary group, and the top four finishing teams from each preliminary group will then qualify for the Round of 16. Winners of the Round of 16 games will advance to the quarterfinals, while losers are eliminated from the competition. Winners of the quarterfinals games will advance to the medal round semifinals, while the quarterfinals losers are eliminated from the competition. Winners of the semifinals will advance to the Sept. 14 gold medal game, while semifinals losers will meet in the bronze medal game on Sept. 13. The games from the Round of 16 to the semifinals will be played in Barcelona and Madrid, and the bronze and gold medal games will be held in Madrid.

FIBA Basketball World Cup
Held every four years and considered international basketball’s diamond event, the U.S. has had solid results in World Cup play.

Featuring a team that averaged just 24.6 years of age, and a team that did not include a player from the gold medalist 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, under the leadership of Colangelo and the coaching of Krzyzewski, the USA accomplished something men’s teams from the United States had failed to do since 1994 - win a FIBA World Championship. Led by World Championship MVP Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), the Americans rolled over its opponents by an average margin of victory of 24.6 points per game to compile a 9-0 record and win the World Championship title.

All told, the United States has won 11 medals in World Cup/World Championship play - four gold medals (1954, 1986 1994 and 2010), three silver medals (1950, 1959 and 1982) and four bronze medals (1974, 1990, 1998 and 2006). USA teams have compiled an overall 114-27 win-loss record in the World Championships for an 80.9 winning percentage.

2USA Basketball Men's National Team
Colangelo, who also served as Managing Director of the USA Men’s National Team for 2005-2008 and 2009-2012, again heads the USA Basketball Men’s National Team program for 2014-16. On May 23, 2013, Colangelo officially announced that Duke University’s Hall of Fame mentor Krzyzewski would return to lead the USA National Team for 2013-16. Syracuse University Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim also returned as an assistant coach for a third quadrennium, and rounding out the 2013-16 USA coaching staff were Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams.

Over the course of the 2014-16 quad, USA Men’s National Teams will compete in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly the FIBA World Championship) Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain; if necessary, the 2015 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD); and if the USA qualifies, the 2016 Summer Olympic Games (Aug. 5-21) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Since Colangelo and Krzyzewski teamed together in 2006, USA National Teams have compiled a spectacular 62-1 record over the seven years, and won gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, 2010 FIBA World Championship, and 2007 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Just as importantly as the USA’s success on the court, the duo has helped reestablished the USA National Team and its members as positive ambassadors for the United States and the sport.

The USA National Team program between 2006 and 2008 compiled a striking 36-1 overall win-loss record in official FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, and exhibition games. The USA culminated the 2005-08 quadrennium by finishing 8-0 to reclaim the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the USA’s first gold in a major international competition since 2000. The USA National Team also won gold at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship with a 10-0 record to qualify the U.S. men for the 2008 Olympic Games. In the program’s first year, the U.S. captured the bronze medal with an 8-1 record at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan.

With Colangelo and Krzyzewski returning to lead the USA Basketball National Team for 2009-12, the national program compiled a perfect 26-0 win-loss record and won gold medals at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and 2012 London Olympics.

Since first fielding in 1992 a team of legendary NBA stars, USA Basketball national teams comprised of NBA players have claimed gold medals in 12 of 15 major international basketball competitions, while compiling an impressive 117-7 overall record (.944 winning percentage) in those competitions, and posting a record of 42-1 (.977 winning percentage) in exhibition games.