The 14th World Basketball Championship tournament tips off Thursday in Indianapolis, Indiana, where 16 nations will compete for the title in a tournament played every four years.
The last four world basketball championships have been won either by Yugoslavia or the United States. Yugoslavia was the 1990 and 1998 champion, while the United States claimed the title in 1986 and 1994. After winning in 1982, the former Soviet Union, and later Russia, has been a silver medallist four straight times.
With the absence of several top National Basketball Association stars, the United States may find the path to its fourth championship very difficult this year. Yugoslavia, which also boasts several NBA stars, is a strong favorite again as it goes for an unprecedented fifth title in group A with Spain, Canada and Angola.
Group B features two-time winner Brazil, Turkey, Puerto Rico and Lebanon. The host United States is in group C with Germany, China and Algeria. Group D has former champion Argentina, three-time winner Russia, New Zealand and Venezuela.
The top three teams from the round-robin preliminary round will advance into two groups of six teams. The top three teams move into the second round ahead of the quarterfinals and semifinals. The championship game will be played on September 8.