In an attempt to allow each nation’s fans to have the opportunity to cheer on their men’s national team in person, FIBA has revamped its qualifying system for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Under FIBA’s new competition format, the next FIBA Basketball World Cup will be played in 2019 and then held every four years. A total of 80 national teams from FIBA’s four regions of Africa, Americas, Asia (which now includes Oceania) and Europe are competing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers over 15 months looking to earn a qualifying berth in the 32-team FIBA World Cup competition that will be held Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.
A total of 16 teams from the Americas zone are vying for seven qualifying berths to the 2019 FIBA World Cup. After the first round of games, the top three teams in each group advance to the second round. FIBA World Cup Qualifying games began in November 2017, and the USA is joined in Group C by Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The nations played home and away first-round games during the first three windows of competition (Nov, 20-28, 2017; Feb. 19-27, 2018; and June 28-July 1, 2018). Following the first round, the top three nations in each group advanced to the second round, where countries will again play home and away games in each of the final three competition windows (Aug. 30-Sept. 8, 2018; Nov. 29-Dec. 3, 2018; and Feb. 21-25, 2019). The top three finishing teams in each second round group and the best fourth-placed team from the two groups advance to compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Two-time defending FIBA World Cup of Basketball for Men champions, the USA must qualify for the 2019 World Cup before attempting to earn a third-straight gold medal at the competition. The USA began its journey to the 2019 World Cup by winning Group C in the first round with a 5-1 record. Advancing to second round action, the USA defeated Uruguay in Las Vegas on Sept.14 and won against Panama in Panama City, Panama, on Sept. 17. Next up, the USA faces Argentina in La Rioja, Argentina, on Nov. 29 and Uruguay in Montevideo on Dec. 2. The USA concludes its World Cup Qualifying games in February 2019, hosting in Greensboro, North Carolina, Panama on Feb. 22 and Argentina on Feb. 25. Coached by Jeff Van Gundy, the USA team’s roster for each window will be fluid and drawn mainly from G League teams.