FIBA World Cup 2014: Draw, Schedule and Games to Watch at International Event

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 22:  Derrick Rose #6 of the USA dribbles against  Puerto Rico during their game at Madison Square Garden on August 22, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The United States will try to defend their title at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, although the entire tournament is certain to be entertaining.

Spain, who won this event in 2006, believe they have what it takes to win another title on their home soil. Meanwhile, Argentina, Lithuania and others remain top contenders to at least bring home a medal, although they are all hoping it is gold.

Even with the talent on each roster, all of the top teams will face tough challenges along the way. Here is a look at the groups and schedule at the FIBA World Cup, along with top matchups to watch before the knockout stage.

Group A

Group A

Top Game: Spain vs. Brazil, Sept. 1

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Marc Gasol #13 of Spain and Pau Gasol #4 of Spain communicate to their team mates during the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the United States and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This group appears to be the toughest of the tournament, with plenty of top teams like Spain, France, Brazil and Serbia all capable of competing for medals.

ESPN's Mark Jones explains while Spain are an early favorite, France will be one of the top competitors as well:

However, the squad will be without Tony Parker, who is a tough player to replace. The French are very young and will not be able to compete with the veteran presence of a juggernaut like Spain.

On the other hand, one team that could cause problems for the group favorites is Brazil. This team has plenty of frontcourt talent between Anderson Varejao, Nene and Tiago Splitter, which would be a good matchup against Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka.

If Brazil can defend the paint and rebound, they have a chance to pull off the upset against one of the top teams in the tournament.

Group B

Group B
CroatiaPuerto Rico

Top Game: Argentina vs. Greece, Sept. 4

This is the only game of the group stage that will feature two of the top-five teams in the FIBA World Rankings

Greece will be led by one of the more exciting young players in the NBA: Giannis Antetokounmpo. The "Greek Freak" is not only incredibly athletic, but he has the tools to play all over the court, as noted by Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:

He will try to help a team work its way to the top of the group, although Argentina will be in the way. This is another squad that is light on NBA talent (Luis Scola and Pablo Prigioni are the only players on NBA rosters), but it has plenty of international experience.

Argentina have earned a medal at each of the last three Olympics, including gold in 2004, and have had plenty of success at the FIBA World Cup.

This will be the last game for both teams in the group stage, and it could end up being incredibly important. 

Group C

Group C
Dominican RepublicTurkey
New ZealandUnited States

Top Game: United States vs. Turkey, Aug. 31

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 20:  James Harden #13 of the USA dribbles against the Dominican Republic during their game at Madison Square Garden on August 20, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Olympic gold medalists like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are absent, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love withdrew from consideration and injuries to Paul George and others caused the team to look weaker than it has in the past.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo explained the squad had to be built to play with each other, via The Associated Press (h/t Boston Herald): "I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent — each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing."

Still, there is no question the United States have the most talent to choose from heading into international tournaments. SportsCenter provided a look at the final roster, which still includes plenty of NBA All-Stars:

It only remains to be seen whether this group can play together for long enough to bring home another title.

One challenge could come early on against Turkey, the silver medalists from the 2010 event. Omer Asik leads a quality defensive team that knows how to work together on the floor. In order to beat them, the United States will have to avoid selfish behavior and instead keep passing to find the best shot available.

Group D

Group D
South KoreaSlovenia

Top Game: Lithuania vs. Australia, Sept. 2

Australia have not had much success at the international level in the past, but a host of young players could help turn around their fortunes.

Recent draft picks Dante Exum and Cameron Bairstow join a national team that has sent a number of other players to the NBA in the past few years.

Bleacher Report's D.J. Foster believes the group could even challenge the United States if given a chance:

Meanwhile, Lithuania might not have as many recognizable names, but the team has consistently been a top contender at both the Olympics and World Cup. They often utilize great outside shooting and are extremely difficult to guard offensively.

The winner of this game has a chance to make a deep run in this tournament and certainly challenge for a medal.

Full Group Stage Schedule
DateMatchupTime (ET)Group
Aug 30Croatia vs. Philippines6:30 a.m.B
Aug 30Ukraine vs. Dominican Republic6:30 a.m.C
Aug 30Angola vs. South Korea7:30 a.m.D
Aug 30Egypt vs. Serbia9:30 a.m.A
Aug 30New Zealand vs. Turkey10 a.m.C
Aug 30Austria vs. Slovenia11:30 a.m.D
Aug 30Puerto Rico vs. Argentina11:30 a.m.B
Aug 30France vs. Brazil12 p.m.A
Aug 30Mexico vs. Lithuania2 p.m.D
Aug 30Greece vs. Senegal2 p.m.B
Aug 30United States vs. Finland3:30 p.m.C
Aug 30Iran vs. Spain4 p.m.A
Aug 31Dominican Republic vs. New Zealand6:30 a.m.C
Aug 31South Korea vs. Australia7:30 a.m.D
Aug 31Argentina vs. Croatia7:30 a.m.B
Aug 31Serbia vs. France9:30 a.m.A
Aug 31Finland vs. Ukraine10 a.m.C
Aug 31Slovenia vs. Mexico11:30 a.m.D
Aug 31Senegal vs. Puerto Rico11:30 a.m.B
Aug 31Brazil vs. Iran12 p.m.A
Aug 31Lithuania vs. Angola2 p.m.D
Aug 31Philippines vs. Greece2 p.m.B
Aug 31Turkey vs. United States3:30 p.m.C
Aug 31Spain vs. Egypt4 p.m.A
Sept 1Croatia vs. Senegal6:30 a.m.B
Sept 1Iran vs. Serbia9:30 a.m.A
Sept 1Argentina vs. Philippines11:30 a.m.B
Sept 1France vs. Egypt12 p.m.A
Sept 1Puerto Rico vs. Greece2 p.m.B
Sept 1Brazil vs. Spain4 p.m.A
Sept 2Angola vs. Mexico7:30 a.m.D
Sept 2Ukraine vs. Turkey9 a.m.C
Sept 2Australia vs. Lithuania11:30 a.m.D
Sept 2United States vs. New Zealand11:30 a.m.C
Sept 2South Korea vs. Slovenia2 p.m.D
Sept 2Finland vs. Dominican Republic3:30 p.m.C
Sept 3Mexico vs. Australia7:30 a.m.D
Sept 3Philippines vs. Puerto Rico7:30 a.m.B
Sept 3New Zealand vs. Ukraine9 a.m.C
Sept 3Egypt vs. Iran9:30 a.m.A
Sept 3Slovenia vs. Angola11:30 a.m.D
Sept 3Senegal vs. Argentina11:30 a.m.B
Sept 3Turkey vs. Finland11:30 a.m.C
Sept 3Serbia vs. Brazil12 p.m.A
Sept 3Lithuania vs. South Korea2 p.m.D
Sept 3Greece vs. Croatia2 p.m.B
Sept 3Dominican Republic vs. United States3:30 p.m.C
Sept 3Spain vs. France4 p.m.A
Sept 4Australia vs. Angola7:30 a.m.D
Sept 4Senegal vs. Philippines8 a.m.B
Sept 4Finland vs. New Zealand9 a.m.C
Sept 4Brazil vs. Egypt9:30 a.m.A
Sept 4South Korea vs. Mexico11:30 a.m.D
Sept 4Ukraine vs. United States11:30 a.m.C
Sept 4Iran vs. France12 p.m.A
Sept 4Croatia vs. Puerto Rico12 p.m.B
Sept 4Lithuania vs. Slovenia3:30 p.m.D
Sept 4Turkey vs. Dominican Republic3:30 p.m.C
Sept 4Serbia vs. Spain4 p.m.A
Sept 4Argentina vs. Greece4 p.m.B

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