The USA men's national basketball team aspired to win its third straight FIBA World Cup when it arrived in China. Instead, it will end the tournament by playing for seventh place.
On Saturday, USA will play its final contest of the 2019 World Cup when it takes on Poland in the seventh-place game. The Americans are coming off back-to-back losses to France and Serbia, while the Polish have lost three straight games to Argentina, Spain and the Czech Republic.
Team USA is guaranteed to have its worst finish in a major tournament. It had never placed worse than sixth, which it did in the 2002 world championships.
Here's everything you need to know heading into the matchup between USA and Poland.
Date: Saturday, Sept. 14
Time: 4 a.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN+
Odds (via Caesars): Poland +19.5, USA -19.5: -110 (wager $110 to win $100)
Team USA's hopes of earning at least a bronze medal at the 2019 FIBA World Cup ended when it lost to France 89-79 on Wednesday. Perhaps that defeat contributed to the Americans' slow start on Thursday against Serbia.
Serbia outscored USA 32-7 in the first quarter of its matchup, immediately taking control. However, the Americans scored 33 points in the second quarter and only trailed by four at halftime. Although the game was close in the second half, Serbia put away USA late.
And with that, Team USA moved to somewhere it had never been before—the seventh-place game and guaranteed disappointment of how the tournament will end.
"We've committed to this from Day 1," USA guard Joe Harris said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "To get all the way to this point and just kind of have it abruptly come up short, it really stings."
Despite the last two games, head coach Gregg Popovich, who is leading Team USA for the first time, was pleased with how his team played only a day after its hopes of earning a medal ended.
"I can't tell you how much I've been impressed the whole time with their character, their stick-to-itiveness and their persistence as they're learning how to play together," Popovich said, per AP.
Jayson Tatum (left ankle) and Marcus Smart (left hand) both missed USA's last game against Serbia, and neither is expected to return for the matchup against Poland.
Even if the Americans lose their final game at the World Cup, they'll be in the 2020 Olympics and have a chance to redeem themselves then.
Poland also got off to a strong start at the World Cup, going 3-0 in Group A pool play by defeating Venezuela, China and Cote d'Ivoire. It then defeated Russia before losing three straight entering the seventh-place game.
In its last game, Poland lost 94-84 to the Czech Republic, which sealed the victory by outscoring Poland by nine points in the fourth quarter.