The third window of the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualification runs from June 27 to July 7, 2022. Here’s what you should know.
Men’s basketball teams from around the world are gearing up for the third window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifiers, which runs from June 27 to July 7.
This is the final window of the first round, and it will determine which teams from each of the four regions will advance to the second phase.
With plenty of hoops action planned around the world, here is a one-stop guide to the first decisive round of qualifiers. First, let’s go over the qualification process again.
Format recap for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifiers
Eighty teams from four regions – Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas – will compete over six windows over a 15-month period for a spot in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which will be co-hosted by Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines.
Though the number of teams sent to next year’s showpiece event varies by region, the qualification system remains the same.
Teams are divided into groups in the first round, which consists of three windows, and will play everyone in their group twice, home-and-away (apart from the Africa region who meet in two tournaments).
After all games are completed, the top three teams from each group will advance to the second round. Those who are successful will combine to form six-team groups. Asia, Africa, and the Americas will be divided into two six-team groups, while Europe will be divided into four.
Countries will once again meet to play everyone in their group home and away over three windows.
The top three teams from each group in Europe will qualify for the World Cup, resulting in a total of 12 countries representing the continent.
The top two teams from each group, plus the best third-placed team, will qualify for Africa, while the top three teams from each group, plus the best fourth-placed team, will qualify for the Americas.
The Philippines are already qualified as the host of the World Cup’s Final Phase, as is Japan, who qualified as host based on its ranking. As a result, both countries occupy two of the seven available spots for Asia and Oceania at the event.
To join the two other host countries, Indonesia must improve its ranking and advance to the FIBA Asia Cup quarterfinals this year (12 July – 24 July).
This means that by the end of the second window, the top three teams from each group, along with the Philippines and Japan, will have qualified for the World Cup. However, if Indonesia has already secured their spot, only the best third-placed team, in addition to the top two teams from each group, will qualify.
Europe’s stars to watch in the 2023 Basketball World Cup Qualifiers
As of now, 12 European teams have already qualified for the second round of the FIBA World Cup European qualifiers in 2023.
Lativa, Lithuania, Serbia, Spain, France, and Georgia have all advanced to the next round due to the strength of their pool performances.
While Russia and Belarus withdraw, Greece, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Italy, Iceland, and the Netherlands advance directly.
That means the fate of another 12 will be decided over five game days beginning on June 27 and ending on July 7.
European Qualifiers: Who to Look Out For
In window three, one man will most likely be the center of attention.
Slovenia’s talismanic Luka Doncic has returned to the fold after finishing the season with America’s National Basketball Association (NBA) team, the Dallas Mavericks.
The 23-year-old has made no secret of his desire to win with his country, and with Slovenia needing one more win to advance to the second round, you can bet Doncic will be front and center in getting his team there.
The Slovenian isn’t the only NBA player to keep an eye on during the European qualifying tournament.
Nemanja Bjelica has been named to Serbia’s 20-man squad for the upcoming season, and the 34-year-old has that winning feeling coursing through his veins.
The Serbian was a member of the Golden State Warriors team that won the NBA Championship this year. He joins the likes of Rio 2016 silver medalist Milos Teodosic and 2022 Draft pick Nikola Jovic.
Africa has qualified for the 2023 Basketball World Cup
The next window for the African region is scheduled for July 1-3 in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire), Alexandria (Egypt), and Kigali (Rwanda).
With all groups having only played six of their twelve matches, the next 24 games will be crucial in determining which teams advance to the second round.
As of now, South Sudan and Cote d’Ivoire are the only unbeaten teams, implying that more twists and turns may be in store before the end of window three.
Stars to watch in the African Qualifiers
Fans with keen eyes will have noticed Jonathan Kuminga’s appearance on the preliminary Democratic Republic of Congo roster for the third window.
Kuminga is another international player who was a member of the Golden State Warriors’ NBA championship team earlier this month.
Last time out, DR Congo upset Senegal in one of the qualifiers’ biggest surprises. Despite losing to Egypt 24 hours later, perhaps the injection of Kuminga for this window will see them safely through to the second round.
Keep an eye out for Childe Dundao as well.
Despite being the shortest player in the FIBA 2023 World Cup qualifiers at 1.67m, the Angolan point guard has already proven his worth on the stat sheet.
Dundao currently has the highest steals per game average (4.7) in the African qualifiers. If that wasn’t enough to highlight his defensive abilities, the Angolan was recently named to the Basketball Africa League (BAL) All-Defensive Team.
Americas Basketball World Cup Qualifiers 2023
With nine of the twelve teams from the Americas already guaranteed a spot in the second round, the pressure is on those who remain to secure the last three available tickets.
Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Canada, Dominican Republic, United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico have all safely qualified for the second round, which means three matches in Groups A, B, and C will determine who joins them.
These are the following matches: Panama vs. Paraguay (30 June), Bahamas vs. Virgin Islands (1 July), and Colombia vs. Chile (30 June).
The remaining 11 games scheduled for this window will occur between June 30 and July 4.
Stars to watch in the Americas Qualifiers
Though Canada is out of the running for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers, they will be a team to watch as they finish the first round of competition.
They are not only the only country to have scored more than 100 points per game (101.8 average) so far in the competition, but they also lead in three-point attempts, establishing themselves as an offensive powerhouse.
With 11 NBA players named to the roster for this window, Canada isn’t short on star power. RJ Barrett, 22, of the New York Knicks, will most likely draw attention.
This Canadian finished the season with a 20-point-per-game average and also demonstrated his defensive abilities.
Asia will host the 2023 Basketball World Cup qualifiers.
In Asia and Oceania, eight teams out of a possible twelve have advanced to the second round.
Australia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, and Kazakhstan advance based on their current performances, while Group A teams New Zealand, Philippines, and India all advance following Korea’s disqualification.
A total of 16 matches will be played from June 30 to July 4 to determine which four teams will round out the final 12 teams for the next phase.
Stars to watch in Asia Qualifiers
Japanese NBA stars Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards) and Watanabe Yuta (Toronto Raptors) have been named to the preliminary roster for the third window of the 2023 World Cup qualifiers, and fans of the Akatsuki Five are already ecstatic.
In 2021, both Hachimura and Watanabe represented Japan at Tokyo 2020.
With advancement to the next stage not guaranteed, Japan must perform admirably against some particularly formidable opponents in Australia, China, and Chinese Taipei.
While the Philippines may be well prepared for the 2023 World Cup due to their hosting duties, the Gilas Pilipinas aren’t sitting back and have some talent worth watching.
20-year-old Kai Sotto is a promising young player. And, having gone undrafted in the recent NBA Draft, the 20-year-old will be eager to show the league what it is missing.
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