USA vs. Cuba - Things To Know
The USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team (4-1) closes out first-round action against Cuba (0-5) on Sunday, 4 p.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Following a 78-70 setback to Mexico in Mexico City Thursday, the USA will not only be looking to bounce back after suffering its first loss, but to do so on the road in front of another hyped crowd.
Here are some things to know about Sunday's USA-CUBA FIBA Americas World Cup Qualifying game.
Coach Van Gundy's Overview of Cuba
"We’re playing another road game and we’re going to have to play a lot better than we just did (versus Mexico). I think every individual has to self-reflect, I have to do the same, and hopefully we’ll play a better game on Sunday.
"They played a really good road game tonight (Thursday), they lost by four (84-80) at Puerto Rico which is a heck of a performance. They’re big and strong and physical, and we’re going to have to play a lot better. You don’t win on the road playing a partial game, you’ve got to play the whole game."
Coach Van Gundy On What He Believes The Key To The Game Versus Cuba Will Be:
"I think it will be our ability to bounce back from disappointment. We’ve won close games, even though some of these guys have played and some haven’t, now we have deal with the disappointment of losing. We’ve got to bounce back."
A Historic Meeting In Havana
It has been 27 years since a USA men's national team played in Havana, Cuba. The last time was 1991 for the Pan American Games. The 1991 USA Pan American Games Team was coached by Purdue Hall of Fame mentor Gene Keady and the roster was comprised of top collegians. Found on ther '91 roster were Duke standouts Grant Hill, Thomas Hill and Christian Leattner, as well as Ohio State star Jimmy Jckson and current University of Virginia head coach Tony Brennett.
USA-Cuba Boast of Plenty of History
The USA owns a 28-1 record versus Cuba, and the two men’s national teams met Feb. 23 in a World Cup Qualifying first-round game in Santza Cruz, California. Defeating Cuba 84-48, the game was lopsided from the start, with the USA holding Cuba scoreless for the first 4:40 while building a 15-0 lead. Overall, the U.S. defense held Cuba to just 25.0 percent from the field (16-64 FGs) and forced 19 turnovers, while its offense got 44 points from the bench and recorded 28 fastbreak points. Rodney Purvis
In other past clashes, the USA claimed a 111-70 win over Cuba in the 2000 Goodwill Games. The USA’s lone loss came in the 1971 Pan American Games when Cuba earned a 73-69 victory. The U.S. is 1-0 versus Cuba in Olympic games (67-48 in 1972); 2-0 in FIBA World Cup games (74-53 in 1970 and 83-70 in 1974); and 4-0 in FIBA Americas Championships contests (95-92 in 1989, 136-57 in 1992, 100-88 in 1997, and 88-52 in 1999).
Seven World Cup Qualifying Players Are Back In The Mix
Not only are head coach Jeff Van Gundy and USA assistant coach John Thompson III back on the sidelines for USA Basketball, but so are seven players from USA World Cup Qualifying teams. Returning from the November 2017 USA World Cup Qualifying Team that finished 2-0 are: Reggie Hearn, Jonathan Holmes, Amile Jefferson and Xavier Munford. Back after leading the USA to a 2-0 record during the February 2018 USA World Cup Qualifying second window are Taylor Braun, David Stocktonand RaShawn Thomas.
Additionally, Trey McKinney Jones and Marcus Thornton were selected to the roster after previously having to withdraw from the February USA World Cup Qualifying Team training camp due to signing 10-day contracts with NBA teams.
Previous First-Round Results
In the first competition window, held Nov. 23-27, the U.S. played its first Americas Zone Group C game Thanksgiving evening and defeated Puerto Rico 85-78 at the University of Central Florida’s CFE Arena in Orlando. The U.S. then closed out the first window with a convincing 91-55 victory over Mexico on Nov. 26 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Window two saw the U.S. play a pair of home games in Santa Cruz, California. Opening against Cuba on Feb. 23, the USA strolled to a 84-48 win, then three days later knocked off Puerto Rico for a second time by the score of 83-75.
Window three, the final first round window, saw the USA suffer its first loss after falling 78-70 to Mexico on the road in Mexico City.
FIBA World Cup Qualifying First-Round Results
Check out the cores and standings for the Americas World Cup Qualifying. 2017-19 Americas World Cup Qualifiers Schedule/Results
The New World-Wide Qualifying Process
FIBA's World Cup Qualifying games are an entirely new process, not only for the USA but the rest of the world, too. The qualifiers will be used to determine the nations that will qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
The third, first-round competition window, June 28-July 1, 2018, saw the USA hit the road for games versus Mexico on June 28 and Cuba on July 1.
Following completion of the first round, the top three finishing teams in each of the four, first-round groups advanced to the second round and will keep their record. The three advancing teams from Group A and from Group C will form Group E. The top three finishers from Group B and Group D will form Group F. The three second-round windows of competition will take place Sept. 13-17, 2018; Nov. 29-Dec. 3, 2018; and Feb. 21-25, 2019.
Following completion of the Americas second-round games, seven teams will qualify out of the zone for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, including the top three finishing teams from second-round Group E and Group F, and the best fourth placed team between Group E and Group F.
The USA team primarily is comprised of NBA G League athletes. For more information on the new World Cup Qualifying process, check out our crash course here: WCQ Crash Course
USA - Cuba Game Information
The game is available via ESPN+
LiveStats: USA vs. Mexico Live Stats