Basketball World Cup 2023: How to watch, who’s playing, who’s favored


Here’s what you need to know about one of basketball’s biggest international tournaments.

Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives up the court during training camp for the United States men’s basketball team Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) John Locher/AP Photo

The Basketball World Cup — FIBA’s biggest tournament — starts Friday, spread out across three countries for the first two rounds before all the biggest games get played in Manila to decide which nation will go home with gold medals and the Naismith Trophy on Sept. 10.

  • Brooklyn Nets forward T.J. Warren (1) drives against Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard, left, and guard Marcus Smart (36) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, in New York. The Celtics won 109-98.

    Celtics reportedly meeting with free-agent forwards T.J. Warren and Lamar Stevens

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Spain is the defending champion, having won in China four years ago. The U.S. was only seventh in that tournament, its worst finish ever in a major international event. But the Americans have high hopes, and enter as the tournament favorites.

The 32 teams were split into eight different groups of four. The top two teams from each group will make the second round. The top eight teams after the second round advance to the quarterfinals.

Here’s a list of all the opening games for all 32 teams:


Group A (at Manila): Angola vs. Italy, Dominican Republic vs. Philippines

Group D (at Manila): Mexico vs. Montenegro, Egypt vs. Lithuania

Group E (at Okinawa): Finland vs. Australia, Germany vs. Japan

Group H (at Jakarta): Latvia vs. Lebanon, Canada vs. France


Group B (at Manila): South Sudan vs. Puerto Rico, Serbia vs. China

Group C (at Manila): Jordan vs. Greece, U.S. vs. New Zealand

Group F (at Okinawa): Cape Verde vs. Georgia, Slovenia vs. Venezuela

Group G (at Jakarta): Iran vs. Brazil, Spain vs. Ivory Coast

— In the U.S.: The first three U.S. games (Aug. 26, Aug. 28, Aug. 30) will be on ESPN2. Aug. 26 and Aug. 28 games will begin at 8:40 a.m. EDT; the Aug. 30 game begins at 4:40 a.m. EDT.

— There are streaming options for other games.

Rosters won’t be finalized until later this week, but expect at least 20 of the 32 teams to have at least one NBA player on the roster. The U.S. is the only team with all 12 players hailing from the NBA.

Canada has a slew of NBA talent, as would be expected, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, RJ Barrett, Kelly Olynyk, Dillon Brooks, Lu Dort, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Dwight Powell.

Among the other big NBA names on non-U.S. rosters: Luka Doncic (Slovenia), Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic), Jordan Clarkson (Philippines), Kyle Anderson (China), Rudy Gobert (France), Evan Fournier (France), Nicolas Batum (France), Davis Bertans (Latvia), Patty Mills (Australia), Joe Ingles (Australia), Lauri Markkanen (Finland), Josh Giddey (Australia), Josh Green (Australia), Matisse Thybulle (Australia), Dennis Schroder (Germany), Franz Wagner (Germany), Moritz Wagner (Germany), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) and Nikola Vucevic (Montenegro).

Those who are used to the NBA game will find some parts of the FIBA game confusing, particularly what constitutes basket interference or goaltending. In short, once a ball hits the rim, it’s fair game for either the offense or defense to hit it even while it remains in the cylinder.

The 3-point line is a bit closer, the ball is a bit smaller, players foul out on their fifth personal and the game doesn’t last as long. Quarters are 10 minutes, not 12 like in the NBA.

The U.S. is the overwhelming favorite to win the World Cup, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, with the Americans’ odds listed at minus-130 (meaning a $130 wager on the Americans would return $230, if they won). Australia and Canada are tied as the second choice, both at plus-750 (a $100 wager would return $750), followed by France at plus-1,000. Want some value? Try Slovenia; Luka Doncic’s team has odds of plus-3,000.

What you need to know about the Basketball World Cup, and the U.S. road to getting here:

— The basketball-crazed Philippines is about to have a shining moment

— USA Basketball’s coaching staff for the World Cup is an All-Star team

— Getting used to FIBA rule differences is part of the challenge for NBA players

— As World Cup nears, U.S. team says it’ll embrace any doubters

— U.S. finishes exhibition season with perfect 5-0 record after rallying to beat Germany

— The U.S. brought some help to finish World Cup preparations