When the 2014 FIBA World Championship schedule was officially announced last week, Nick Gallo was the man tasked to cover it for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s official NBA web page. In his article, Gallo made note of the level of impact Thunder players had during the 2012 Olympic Games. Three Thunder players had made the squad for Team USA (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden [at that point anyway]), while a fourth (Serge Ibaka) had adequately proven his worth for Team Spain.
Unsurprisingly, the Gold Medal Game featured a showdown between the two nations. Team USA ended up getting the better of Team Spain 107-100 to snag the gold medal. While Westbrook and Harden didn’t do much (as they played a combined total of 10 minutes), Durant led all scorers on Team USA with 30 points while pulling down 9 rebounds. His performance had Bleacher Report crowning him as “Team USA MVP”. Meanwhile, Ibaka scored 12 points, and pulled down 9 rebounds for Team Spain in the 6th man role.
Despite Ibaka’s earlier admission that his left calf still isn’t quite 100%, he plans on being ready to go for Team Spain by the time of the 2014 FIBA World Championships’ opening tip. Joining him on Team Spain will be OKC Thunder draft-and-stash prospect, Alex Abrines, who was picked at #32 in the 2013 NBA Draft.
While Westbrook plans on sitting out this one, as 3 recent knee surgeries has him more than ready to rest up at this point, Durant is more than ready to don the Team USA colors once again. This kid just loves the game, and there was no way he was going to pass up a chance to be one of our nation’s representatives once basketball was back in the global spotlight. I get it. I love the game myself, as I already have the FIBA countdown clock opened in one of my monitor windows at all times.
Also unsurprisingly, the official FIBA 2014 tournament web page has the American and Spanish national teams ranked at #1 and #2 respectively.
The 2014 FIBA World Championships officially tip off on August 30th in Spain. Much like FIFA, the participating nations will be split into 4 groups of 6. The preliminary round will see the teams within the 4 groups play each other in a round robin. The 2 teams with the worst win-loss records in each group will be eliminated, as the remaining teams enter the Knockout Round of 16. From there, it plays no different from your standard, single-elimination tournament.
For the preliminary round, Team USA has drawn Group C. They will start play in Bilbao (a Spanish municipality) along with the Ukraine, Turkey, New Zealand, Finland, and the Dominican Republic. Team Spain will be in Group A, starting play in Granada along with France, Brazil, Egypt, Iran, and Serbia. The preliminary round playing times for both Team USA and Team Spain are as follows:
Saturday August 30th:
United States vs. Finland – 2:30 pm CST
Spain vs. Iran – 3pm CST
Sunday August 31st:
United States vs. Turkey – 2:30 pm CST
Spain vs. Egypt – 3pm CST
Monday September 1st:
Spain vs. Brazil – 3pm CST
Tuesday September 2nd:
United States vs. New Zealand – 10:30 am CST
Wednesday September 3rd:
United States vs. Dominican Republic – 2:30 pm CST
Spain vs. France – 3pm CST
Thursday September 4th:
United States vs. Ukraine – 10:30 am CST
Spain vs. Serbia – 3pm CST
After the preliminary round ends, the Knockout Round of 16 will be played on both September 6th, and September 7th. The teams will be split into two groups, with one group playing in Madrid, and the other group playing in Barcelona. Team USA will be with the Madrid group if (or more likely, when) they advance, and Team Spain will be in Barcelona (as they will most likely advance as well). This continues through the Knockout Round of 8, to be played on both September 8th and September 9th. It ends with the Barcelona semi-final on September 11th.
The winning team in the Barcelona group will then rejoin the remaining 2 teams in Madrid, as the Madrid semi-final tips off September 12th at 3pm CST. The 2 losing semi-final teams will meet head-to-head on September 13th to determine the 3rd place finisher, then it all culminates with the 2014 FIBA World Championship Game on September 14th, also scheduled for a 3pm CST tip-off. The winner takes the Naismith Trophy, while the loser finishes in 2nd place.
And with the Team USA starting lineup, and the Team Spain starting lineup available here at the click of one of the previous links, you now have everything you need to watch the 2014 FIBA World Championships with an informed eye.