We are just a few days away from the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The exhibition matches came and went, and starting this Saturday, the games count. Find yourself wondering how in the world this tournament works? It’s much different than the standard playoff format that we are used to in the NBA, at least for the beginning rounds. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here is a primer for the upcoming World Cup, specially tuned for Utah Jazz players participating in the cup.
Schedule and Format
The 32 countries who qualified to compete were placed in eight groups during the Official Draw held in mid-March. These groups will compete against each other during the first round of the Group Phase, which features 48 games total (3 games per team, 6 games per group).
Here are the eight groups for the first round of the 2019 World Cup:
Group A: Cote d’Ivoire, Poland, Venezuela, China
Group B: Russia, Argentina, Korea, Nigeria
Group C: Spain, Iran, Puerto Rico, Tunisia
Group D: Angola, Philippines, Italy, Serbia
Group E: Turkey, Czech Republic, USA, Japan
Group F: Greece, New Zealand, Brazil, Montenegro
Group G: Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Jordan
Group H: Canada, Senegal, Lithuania, Australia
The top two teams from each group advance to the second round of the Group Phase. The bottom two teams from each group move to the Classification Round to compete for places 17 to 32.
The second round of the Group Phase features four groups of four teams playing a total of 16 games (two games per team, four games per group). In this second round, teams only play against teams they did not face during the first round. The top two teams from each group advance to the Quarterfinals, while the bottom two teams in each group are eliminated and ranked in places No. 9 to 16.
The Final Phase of the World Cup is a 16-team, single-elimination tournament. The losing teams in the Quarterfinals move to the Classification Round for places No. 5 to 8. The losing teams in the Semifinals compete in a game for third place.
The champion of the tournament is the winner of the final game on Sep. 15 in Beijing.
• First Round (Group Phase): Aug. 31 - Sept. 5
• Second Round (Group Phase): Sept. 6 - 9
• Quarterfinals: Sept. 10 - 11
• Semifinals: Sept. 13
• Final: Sept. 15
Here are the matches from the first round that will include players from the Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell (USA), Joe Ingles (Australia), and Rudy Gobert (France).
USA - CZE 6:30 AM
FRA - GER 6:30 AM
AUS - CAN 1:30 AM
USA - TUR 6:30 AM
FRA - JOR 6:30 AM
AUS- SEN 1:30 AM
USA - JPN 6:30 AM
FRA - DOM 6:30 AM
AUS - LTU 5:30 AM
*All times are Mountain Daylight Time
*All games available on ESPN+ (No other TV schedule has been announced yet)
Where are the true warriors at, waking up at 1:30 AM to catch Joe Ingles doing work?
Full FIBA World Cup schedule here.
Odds To Win The 2019 FIBA World Cup
Based on betting odds, Team USA is the clear favorite to win the FIBA World Cup. Power rankings and other analysis seem to have a different vibe, however. FIBA World Cup Power Rankings had Serbia ahead of USA even before Australia beat them in an exhibition match last week. Serbia has looked really good in international play behind NIkola Jokic.
Team USA (Ranked 2)
Don’t you hate it when you win like ten thousand games in a row*, and then everybody goes mad and says “your time has passed, mate” when you lose once? Against an opponent you defeated by 16 points just 48 hours earlier? USA are still the team that everybody will try to avoid in China. Maybe that defeat to Australia was just another Coach Popovich trick so opponents actually start taking USA for granted in China. And that’s a huge no-no.
*May be an exaggeration.
Serbia (Ranked 1)
Must be good to be Estonia these days, huh? Because Estonia managed what Israel, Borac Cacak, Finland, Lithuania twice, Turkey, Italy twice, Greece, New Zealand and France failed to do against Serbia – they won. Back in February, in the European Qualifiers, 71-70. That was a long time ago, Serbia are on an 11-game winning streak since, peaking at the right moment, getting to China in a good mood. And they open up the tournament against Angola.
You know what happened when Yugoslavia opened up the tournament against Angola in 2002, right?
Lifting the cup happened, that’s what happened!
If Serbia and Team USA were to meet, it’s most likely going to be in the Championship, and what a battle that would be. Team USA is aiming to be the first three-peat winner in FIBA World Cup history, and they might have to go through Serbia to do so.
View full rosters for FIBA World Cup squads here.