The FIBA Basketball World Cup is seven games away from determining a winner. With teams 9-32 all sorted out and four squads from that group (Australia, France, Japan, South Sudan) having already punched their tickets to the Olympics in 2024, eight teams will take the floor over the next few days in the final round of the tournament.
Only two teams will enter the final round with an unblemished record, and perhaps surprisingly, neither of them are Canada or the United States. Instead, Germany was able to get through the first two rounds without a loss — which included an impressive, 100-71 drubbing of Luka Doncic and Slovenia without the services of Franz Wagner — while Lithuania was also about to go undefeated, most notably by knocking off the United States in the final game of Group J.
For the U.S., losing to Lithuania has the potential to be a blessing in disguise. If they won, they would have found themselves going up against a difficult Serbia team in the quarters before a showdown with either Canada or Slovenia in the semis. Instead, that’s Lithuania’s potential path to the finals, while the Americans will have to play Italy in the quarters and, should they advance, Germany or Latvia in the semis.
While this is arguably the preferable route of the two that the Americans could take, it’s by no means an easy path — the Italians are the second-best rebounding team left in the tournament behind only Lithuania, and the inability to grab rebounds has been the United States’ achilles heel during the tournament. Germany has been excellent all tournament long and Latvia have knocked off powerhouses like France, Spain, and Brazil on their road to the quarters.
Here’s the schedule, tip times, and television info for both halves of the bracket as we enter the quarterfinals.
Sept. 5: Italy vs. United States, 8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2
Sept. 6: Germany vs. Latvia, 4:45 a.m. ET, ESPN+
Sept. 5: Lithuania vs. Serbia, 4:45 a.m. ET, ESPN+
Sept. 6: Canada vs. Slovenia, 8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN+
The teams that lose these games will play on Sept. 7 and 9 to determine who will finish fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth in the tournament. The winners, meanwhile, will move on to the semifinals on Sept. 8, with all four teams playing on Sept. 10 to determine the three medalists and the fourth-placed squad. All games from this point in the tournament on will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.