Featuring 24 of the world's top basketball-playing nations, the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain will determine the true global king of the sport.
Team USA enters the tournament as a heavy favorite, but they will unquestionably be pushed by the host Spaniards as well as a few other talented teams. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this entire event, though, is getting to watch non-NBA players who may not be known in the United States.
For those looking to broaden their basketball horizons, each and every FIBA World Cup game can be watched either on television or through live streaming.
Here is a full breakdown of the entire FIBA World Cup viewing schedule, as well as predictions for which teams will finish on the podium.
When: Saturday, Aug. 30 through Sunday, Sept. 14
Watch: ESPN, ESPN2 and NBATV
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Tournament TV Schedule
|Aug. 30||6:30 a.m.||Croatia vs. Philippines||B||WatchESPN|
|6:30 a.m.||Ukraine vs. Dominican Republic||C||WatchESPN|
|7:30 a.m.||Angola vs. South Korea||D||WatchESPN|
|9:30 a.m.||Egypt vs. Serbia||A||WatchESPN|
|10 a.m.||New Zealand vs. Turkey||C||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Austria vs. Slovenia||D||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Puerto Rico vs. Argentina||B||WatchESPN|
|Noon||France vs. Brazil||A||NBATV|
|2 p.m.||Mexico vs. Lithuania||D||WatchESPN|
|2 p.m.||Greece vs. Senegal||B||WatchESPN|
|3:30 p.m.||United States vs. Finland||C||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Iran vs. Spain||A||WatchESPN|
|Aug. 31||6:30 a.m.||Dominican Republic vs. New Zealand||C||WatchESPN|
|7:30 a.m.||South Korea vs. Australia||D||WatchESPN|
|7:30 a.m.||Argentina vs. Croatia||B||NBATV|
|9:30 a.m.||Serbia vs. France||A||NBATV|
|10 a.m.||Finland vs. Ukraine||C||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Slovenia vs. Mexico||D||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Senegal vs. Puerto Rico||B||WatchESPN|
|Noon||Brazil vs. Iran||A||NBATV|
|2 p.m.||Lithuania vs. Angola||D||WatchESPN|
|2 p.m.||Philippines vs. Greece||B||WatchESPN|
|3:30 p.m.||Turkey vs. United States||C||ESPN|
|4 p.m.||Spain vs. Egypt||A||WatchESPN|
|Sept. 1||6:30 a.m.||Croatia vs. Senegal||B||WatchESPN|
|9:30 a.m.||Iran vs. Serbia||A||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Argentina vs. Philippines||B||NBATV|
|Noon||France vs. Egypt||A||WatchESPN|
|2 p.m.||Puerto Rico vs. Greece||B||NBATV|
|4 p.m.||Brazil vs. Spain||A||NBATV|
|Sept. 2||7:30 a.m.||Angola vs. Mexico||D||WatchESPN|
|9 a.m.||Ukraine vs. Turkey||C||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Australia vs. Lithuania||D||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||United States vs. New Zealand||C||ESPN2|
|2 p.m.||South Korea vs. Slovenia||D||NBATV|
|3:30 p.m.||Finland vs. Dominican Republic||C||WatchESPN|
|Sept. 3||7:30 a.m.||Mexico vs. Australia||D||NBATV|
|7:30 a.m.||Philippines vs. Puerto Rico||B||WatchESPN|
|9 a.m.||New Zealand vs. Ukraine||C||WatchESPN|
|9:30 a.m.||Egypt vs. Iran||A||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Slovenia vs. Angola||D||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Senegal vs. Argentina||B||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Turkey vs. Finland||C||WatchESPN|
|Noon||Serbia vs. Brazil||A||NBATV|
|2 p.m.||Lithuania vs. South Korea||D||WatchESPN|
|2 p.m.||Greece vs. Croatia||B||WatchESPN|
|3:30 p.m.||Dominican Republic vs. United States||C||ESPN2|
|4 p.m.||Spain vs. France||A||WatchESPN|
|Sept. 4||7:30 a.m.||Australia vs. Angola||D||WatchESPN|
|8 a.m.||Senegal vs. Philippines||B||WatchESPN|
|9 a.m.||Finland vs. New Zealand||C||WatchESPN|
|9:30 a.m.||Brazil vs. Egypt||A||NBATV|
|11:30 a.m.||South Korea vs. Mexico||D||WatchESPN|
|11:30 a.m.||Ukraine vs. United States||C||ESPN2|
|Noon||Iran vs. France||A||WatchESPN|
|Noon||Croatia vs. Puerto Rico||B||WatchESPN|
|3:30 p.m.||Lithuania vs. Slovenia||D||WatchESPN|
|3:30 p.m.||Turkey vs. Dominican Republic||C||WatchESPN|
|4 p.m.||Serbia vs. Spain||A||NBATV|
|4 p.m.||Argentina vs. Greece||B||WatchESPN|
|Sept. 6||10 a.m.||C3 vs. D2||Round of 16||NBATV|
|TBD||C1 vs. D4||Round of 16||WatchESPN|
|Noon||A3 vs. B2||Round of 16||NBATV|
|4 p.m.||A1 vs. B4||Round of 16||NBATV|
|Sept. 7||10 a.m.||C4 vs. D1||Round of 16||NBATV|
|Noon||C2 vs. D3||Round of 16||NBATV|
|2 p.m.||A4 vs. B1||Round of 16||NBATV|
|4 p.m.||A2 vs. B3||Round of 16||NBATV|
|Sept. 9||TBD||C3/D2 vs. C1/D4||Quarterfinal||ESPN|
|3 p.m.||C4/D1 vs.C2/D3||Quarterfinal||NBATV|
|Sept. 10||Noon||A3/B2 vs. A1/B4||Quarterfinal||ESPN2|
|4 p.m.||A4/B1 vs. A2/B3||Quarterfinal||ESPN2|
|Sept. 11||3 p.m.||QF 1 Winner vs. QF 2 Winner||Semifinal||ESPN|
|Sept. 12||4 p.m.||QF 3 Winner vs. QF 4 Winner||Semifinal||ESPN2|
|Sept. 13||TBA||SF 1 Loser vs. SF 2 Loser||Third Place||ESPN2|
|Sept. 14||TBA||SF 1 Winner vs. SF 2 Winner||Final||ESPN2|
It is no secret that the United States' depth has been depleted by injuries, withdrawals and other factors, but the Americans are still the ones to beat. Team USA is currently in possession of every international basketball title, and they certainly don't intend to relinquish the FIBA World Cup.
The roster may be a tad light in terms of superstar players, but the talent level is still extremely high, as seen in this tweet courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info:
Team USA announces FIBA World Cup roster. Here's a look at who made it and the final cuts. pic.twitter.com/dyDV8IRXSw— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 23, 2014
Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Klay Thompson are all dynamic offensive guards who will wreak havoc with their ability to shoot and penetrate.
Perhaps the biggest question mark for Team USA is paint presence, but New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis is looking very much like a top-flight player. Add in the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and others, and there is enough there for the Americans to compete.
The X-factor in all of this is Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. He has played a grand total of 10 NBA games over the past two seasons, but he was named league MVP in 2010-11. It may take some time for him to regain that level of play, but Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski believes he is already there, according to Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.
It takes an exceptional person, which is why we're talking about Derrick. I think he's exceptional in every way. He went right at it. The first defensive exchange in the camp, he was all over the ball handler, moving his feet, attacking him. There was a buzz right away because it was basically his saying, 'Look, I'm not just back. I'm back at a level that's elite.'
If Rose is truly in MVP form, then it will be incredibly difficult for anyone to stop Team USA's attack. Regardless, the only team that will push the United States is host Spain due to its impressive stable of big men. Even so, the Americans have enough offensive firepower to come away with the gold.
Spain is quite clearly the No. 2 basketball team in the world, but it would love to ascend to No. 1 on home soil. While Espana does have its shortcomings in some areas, it seems quite likely that it will advance to final to take on the United States.
There is no denying the fact that Spain's greatest strength is its interior with Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka making up a formidable front line. All three of those players are adept at both ends of the floor, and they give Spain an advantage over essentially every other team.
That combination caught Coach K's attention too, as Josh Newman of the Asbury Park Press points out that Team USA's decision to go heavy on bigs may have been a reactionary move in response to Spain:
Spain is coming into the World Cup heavy w/a frontcourt of Gasol-Gasol-Ibaka. In response, USA will bring five bigs http://t.co/ZFgxr6068X— Josh Newman (@Joshua_Newman) August 23, 2014
Spain also has some threats outside, with Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio running the offense and the likes of Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez serving as shooters. With that said, Spain simply cannot match up to the Americans when it comes to scoring from long range.
Since success in international basketball is often largely about shooting the three, all signs point toward the Spaniards falling just short in their attempt to unseat the United States.
Who will win the 2014 FIBA World Cup?
Even though the United States and Spain are a cut above the rest, other teams are bound to emerge and make a run. They all have their flaws, but some could potentially give the States and the host nation a run for their money if everything goes right.
One of those possible dark-horse teams is France. Led by Portland Trail Blazers forward Nicolas Batum, the French are skilled and athletic, and they have experienced some recent success as well.
For all the attention being paid to Spain, ESPN's Mark Jones accurately points out that France is the reigning European champion:
Everybody talking about Spain making the FIBA World Cup Final. Excuse me but France are the EURO champs.Spain didn't make FIBA final in 2010— MarkJonesESPN (@MarkJonesESPN) August 21, 2014
That should be taken with a grain of salt, however, since France is without San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker and Bulls center Joakim Noah for the tournament. Even so, France is a very solid team that is bolstered by a handful of NBA players.
Batum will be the biggest key to France's success, but big men Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert will also play a big role, as will versatile guard Evan Fournier.
It is possible that France would be widely viewed as a better team than Spain were Parker and Noah on the roster, but the absence of those two players will drop the French to a bronze medal at best. Even so, that would be a great result considering who is missing from the team.
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