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FIBA World Cup 2019: Saturday Odds, Schedule, Live Stream and Predictions

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2019

MELBOURNE, AUS - AUGUST 24: Kemba Walker #26, Donovan Mitchell #53, Derrick White #46, and Jayson Tatum #34 of USA are seen on the court against the Australia Boomers on August 24, 2019 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE  (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The USA men's basketball national team's chase for gold at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup officially begins this Saturday, August 31 in China.

All of the weeks of training and exhibition games have led to this: a showdown in Shanghai.

But for the first time since 2006, the ultimate victory on the world stage won't be a lock for the U.S.

The Australia Boomers broke Team USA's 78-game winning streak with a 98-94 win last weekend in Melbourne.

It was the first loss for the U.S. in 13 years, but it may have been the wake up call the team needed as it forges ahead to face 31 other countries looking to topple the big basketball giant known as Team USA.

"We were humbled a little bit," Indiana Pacers star Myles Turner told NBA.com's John Schuhmann. "Just because you are Team USA doesn't mean you are going to win every game. Teams are looking to beat us, and we understand that now. We just have to bring it every night. There are no nights off."

Except for the first night, of course.

The U.S. won't play its first game in Group E against the Czech Republic until 8:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday, September 1, but there's plenty of action worth watching on Saturday.

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2019 FIBA World Cup Schedule

Saturday, Aug. 31

Group D: Angola vs. Serbia, 3:30 a.m. ET

Group A: Poland vs. Venezuela, 4 a.m. ET

Group B: Russia vs. Nigeria, 4:30 a.m. ET

Group C: Iran vs. Puerto Rico, 4:30 a.m. ET

Group D: Philippines vs. Italy, 7:30 a.m. ET

Group A: Cote d'Ivoire vs. China, 8 a.m. ET

Group B: Argentina vs. Korea, 8:30 a.m. ET

Group C: Spain vs. Tunisia, 8:30 a.m. ET

TV: will not be broadcast in the United States

Live Stream: ESPN+

Odds (via OddsChecker): Serbia (1/100), Spain (1/100)

Predictions

With NBA superstars like Anthony Davis, James Harden and Damian Lillard opting not to play, it's no secret that there are many other teams that believe they have a legitimate shot at taking home the gold.

Serbia is one of those teams.

Led by Denver Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokic and other NBA players Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sacramento Kings), Nemanja Bjelica (Sacramento Kings), and Boban Marjanović (Dallas Mavericks), Serbia will be a force to be reckoned with.

They have size, length and depth, but most importantly, they have the kind of team chemistry that comes with playing together for years.

Serbia lost to Team USA in the final five years ago and they will be on a mission to avenge that defeat and it all starts with lowly Angola, who they should beat without breaking a sweat.

The other team to watch will be Spain, led by team veteran Marc Gasol, 34, who recently won an NBA championship as a key member of the Toronto Raptors.

Gasol, along with Rudy Fernandez (Real Madrid), Sergio Llull (Real Madrid) and Ricky Rubio (Phoenix Suns) have been focal points for Spain for over a decade, so they'll also bring the kind of team chemistry that will set them apart from other international teams.

Spain will open up play against Tunisia, but that will likely be more of a tune-up for the rest of the Cup.

Look out for Serbia, Spain, France and Greece, which will be led by the 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Any one of those four squads could pose serious threats to Team USA.

Follow Maurice Bobb on Twitter, @ReeseReport