Inform your FIBA Basketball World Cup predictions ahead of the tournament start date of August 25.
The 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup takes place in Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. It’s the first time in the history of this tournament that dates back to 1950 that multiple nations have hosted this prestigious competition. The tournament runs from August 25 to September 10.
FIBA Basketball World Cup: Format, schedule, and teams
The 19th edition of the Basketball World Cup will feature 32 countries and will be played across three phases – the group stage, the second group stage, and the final knockout stage.
Each team in the four-nation groups will play each other once with the top two going into the second group phase. That features four groups of four teams, with the top two in each section heading into the quarterfinals, which start on September 5.
Group A: Angola, Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Italy
Group B: South Sudan, Serbia, China, Puerto Rico
Group C: United States, Jordan, Greece, New Zealand
Group D: Egypt, Mexico, Montenegro, Lithuania
Group E: Germany, Finland, Australia, Japan
Group F: Slovenia, Cape Verde, Georgia, Venezuela
Group G: Iran, Spain, Ivory Coast, Brazil
Group H: Canada, Latvia, Lebanon, France
FIBA Basketball World Cup: Who are the favourites?
USA are the obvious favourites
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Team USA are the short-priced favourites at 1.819*, given the reservoir of NBA talent head coach Steve Kerr can tap into.
Sure, it's not an All-Star line-up, but it never has been for the United States, who are giving younger stars like Orlando forward Paulo Banchero, Utah center Walker Kessler, and Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards the chance to shine on the biggest stage. Edwards, who is rapidly developing into one of the league's top guards, appears to be seizing the moment and taking on leadership status in this hungry group.
Team USA wrapped up a 5-0 exhibition series by rallying from a 16-point deficit against Germany in Abu Dhabi to run out 99-91 winners, with Edwards pouring in 34 points. He made 11 of 21 shots and had nine more points than the other four starters combined.
The praise was gushing. "He's unquestionably the guy," stated Kerr. "You can see he knows it, but now the team knows it."
For the Americans, it's not about talent. The question always is: do they have the mental strength to face teams who treat their matches against Team USA as a cup final in its own right?
The fact that the Americans, picked from the best league in the world, have failed to win 13 of the previous 18 World Cups is quite telling. Four years ago in China, where they were again short-priced favourites, they were beaten by an Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert-inspired French team in the quarterfinals.
The Americans, desperate to avoid a repeat of that fiasco, will breeze through their group and their second group, but then come the knockout rounds. If - and they really should - the rankings work out as planned, they may well be facing France once more in the last eight.
Team Canada can thrive without Murray
Canada are next in the betting at 7.930*, and have never sent a stronger group to a World Cup, even allowing for the withdrawal – which is not entirely unsurprisingly – of newly-minted NBA champ Jamal Murray. In his absence, All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been stepping up, with the Oklahoma City breakout star producing big feats in key knockdowns of New Zealand and, perhaps most notably, Spain.
Losing Murray might just steel Team Canada, and with Gilgeous-Alexander backed up by a roster featuring RJ Barrett, Luguentz Dort, and Kelly Olynyk, there is a lot to like about this group.
Les Bleus deprived of next big star
Victor Wembanyama long ago said he wouldn't join up with France (8.150*) in the Far East, which is a blow for them and for fans hoping to see the game's brightest new star in action for his country. In his absence, old hands Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier will be relied upon once again, while the Euroleague's rebound king Mathias Lessort appears to have recovered from an ankle injury.
The French were blemish-free in their build-up until a defeat at the hands of Australia, but there is still a lot to like about Vincent Collet's side. That star-studded frontcourt featuring Gobert, Lessort, and Guerschon Yabusele is a powerful unit, and if the Americans look susceptible anywhere, it's dragging down rebounds – and that is definitely an area of French strength.
Dangers lurk elsewhere
Indeed, the finals are littered with big men who the Americans will know well, including the likes of Jonas Valančiūnas of Lithuania (37.000*), Nikola Vucevic of Montenegro (163.300), and Karl-Anthony Towns with the Dominican Republic (109.440).
All three of those countries should make stage two, as will Australia (8.460*), who are the third-ranked side in the world, and eager to shine behind NBA mainstays like Josh Giddey and Joe Ingles.
Spain (13.220*) are the defending champions and are impossible to ignore given the energy they get from the Hernangómez brothers, Willy and Juancho.
Just mention the name Luka Dončić and suddenly you think Slovenia (18.960*) has to be part of any conversation, but Vlatko Čančar has been ruled out, and you wonder if the role players have the talent to give Dončić the support he needs.
Equally, Serbia (13.220*) minus Nikola Jokić and Greece (35.800*) without Giannis Antetokounmpo are not the same teams. National pride, however, is a powerful weapon, and south-eastern European countries are never short of it.