Team USA's 12-man roster for the FIBA World Cup is set, and now, all that's left of a summer's worth of uncertainty is the lingering question of whether this crop of Americans can cruise through international competition like most of the ones before it.
A handful of clubs at this year's World Cup would very much like to make the ride as bumpy as possible.
Realistically, the American side (to borrow a soccer term for a competition that is, conveniently, based in Europe) should take the gold. Team USA has more raw talent than any other two teams combined. But we've seen plenty of recent proof that talent alone isn't enough to assure victory in international hoops.
Part of the reason chairman Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski have replaced a glorified All-Star team with one that actually makes functional sense (arrived at through a series of practices, exhibitions and shrewdly considered cuts) is because they know that fit and role-filling matters just as much as raw skill.
Team USA eventually reached this conclusion a decade or so ago, but only after teams like Argentina (2004), Lithuania (2004) and Greece (2006) forced the realization that it was no longer possible to toss NBA players together and assume victory was assured.
Worldwide, basketball is being played at a higher level than ever. That means Team USA can't take any opponent lightly.
There are a few upset-minded squads, though, to which the Americans must pay particular attention. These clubs boast the kind of chemistry and fearlessness necessary to give Team USA fits, and a few of them have enough size and talent to go toe to toe with the U.S.—especially up front.
The following teams may not defeat Team USA, but they've got the ingredients to give it a run for its money.