LAS VEGAS — USA Basketball opened training camp Monday for the FIBA world cup, which starts Aug. 31 in China. Here are 10 things to know about the tournament and the Americans’ quest for an unprecedented third gold medal in the event.
WHAT IS IT?
The world cup is a 32-team tournament running from Aug. 31 through Sept. 15, and used to be called the world championships before a rebranding after the 2010 event. The 32 teams heading to China qualified for the event over the past couple years, and were randomly drawn into one of eight different four-team groups. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the second round.
WHY THE SCHEDULE SWITCH?
World Cups are an every-four-years event, just like the Olympics. Except this time, five years have passed between World Cups. The primary reason for the extra year is because FIBA, basketball’s governing body, wanted to avoid having its world cup in the same year as FIFA, soccer’s governing body, holds its world cup for men. So there was no world cup of basketball in 2018, shifting instead to this year.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Besides the world cup itself, the tournament is a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There are seven teams — two from the Americas, two from Europe and one each from the Africa, Asia and Oceania regions — that will qualify for Tokyo based on their finish at the world cup. Another four spots will be decided in qualifying in July 2020. The only spot clinched already for the 12-team bracket i