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Olympic basketball schedule, groups: U.S. men, women open with gold-medal rematches

The U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams will open the Paris Olympics with rematches of recent gold-medal games.

In groups drawn Tuesday, the U.S. men will begin their bid for a fifth consecutive Olympic title against Serbia on July 28 in a rematch of the 2016 Olympic final. Nikola Jokic could be on the Serbian roster.

The U.S. women, eyeing an eighth consecutive gold, open against Japan on July 29 in a rematch of the Tokyo Olympic final.

FIBA, the sport’s international governing body, held a draw ceremony on Tuesday that placed the 12 teams in each tournament in groups.

After round-robin play in Lille within the three groups, the top two teams from each four-team group advance to the quarterfinals, along with the two highest-ranked third-place teams. The knockout rounds are in Paris.

Olympic rosters have yet to be named.

The U.S. men were also grouped with South Sudan and the winner of an early July last-chance qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico.

Olympic Men's Basketball Schedule 2024


South Sudan, the world’s newest nation (2011), qualified for its first Olympic tournament last September as the top African nation at the FIBA World Cup.

At No. 62 in the world, it was the lowest-ranked team to qualify for an Olympic men’s tournament since at least 2004, according to FIBA.

One of the great moments in Olympic qualifying across all sports and years took place in the South Sudan locker room after the team clinched its spot with a win over longtime African basketball power Angola.

Luol Deng, the retired NBA All-Star and president of the nation’s basketball federation, led a chant: “Where we goin’?” he yelled. “Paris!” the players replied on repeat.

“A year ago, we were practicing outside with eagles flying around while we were practicing. The courts were flooded,” said head coach Royal Ivey, a former NBA player and University of Texas star. “I’m on cloud nine right now.”

The other U.S. opponent in group play will be the winner of an early July Olympic qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico. That tournament includes Lithuania and Italy.

The other men’s groups include world champion Germany and Tokyo silver medalist France in Group B.

Canada, which beat the U.S. in the World Cup bronze-medal game last September, is in Group A and could play a Luka Doncic-led Slovenia or a Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Greece, if either nation wins its last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament in early July.

The U.S. women are in Group C with Japan, which sets up a rematch of the Tokyo Olympic final. Belgium and Germany are also in the group.

In the Tokyo Olympic final, Brittney Griner scored 30 points, the second-highest total in an Olympic game in U.S. women’s history, as the Americans beat Japan 90-75.

The American women are currently tied for the longest gold-medal streak in any Olympic team sport with the U.S. men’s basketball team, which won seven golds in a row from 1936 through 1968.

The other women’s groups include reigning world silver medalist China (Group A) and longtime American rival Australia (Group B).

Olympic Women's Basketball Schedule 2024