BASKETBALL Preview: U.S. men looking to qualify for 2019 World Cup

The long, slow process of advancement to the 2019 FIBA men’s World Cup gets going again in earnest this weekend as the second – and final round – of Americas qualifiers gets started. The U.S. must finish in the top three in its group to advance out of Group E and the first-round results count:

1. Argentina (5-1)
2. United States (5-1)
3. Puerto Rico (4-2)
4. Uruguay (4-2)
5. Panama (3-3)
6. Mexico (3-3)

The round-robin schedule has games in three windows, in September 2018, November 2018 and February 2019. For the U.S.:

∙ 14 September: Uruguay at U.S., Las Vegas, Nevada
∙ 17 September: U.S. at Panama, in Panama City
∙ 29 November: U.S. at Argentina
∙ 02 December: U.S. at Uruguay
∙ 22 February: Panama at U.S.
∙ 25 February: Argentina at U.S.

The U.S. already played Mexico and Puerto Rico twice in the first round, losing only to Mexico, 78-70, last June in Mexico City.

As usual, the roster has changed substantially once again for the U.S., which is coached by Jeff van Gundy. Returning from the first-round team are guard Reggie Hearn and center Jameel Warney. More NBA players are on this team, including forward Dwayne Bacon (53 games with Charlotte last season), and guard Frank Mason III (Sacramento).

Look for scores and statistics here.