Everything you need to know for the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers
Canada are on the verge of securing a spot at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 this week in Edmonton.
The Canadian men will face Venezuela on Thursday (9:10 p.m. ET / 7:10 p.m. MT) and Panama on Sunday (7:10 p.m. ET / 5:10 p.m. MT). Both games will take place at the Edmonton Expo Center and will be broadcast live on Sportsnet ONE and SN NOW.
Twelve teams are battling for seven available places in the Americas region for the World Cup which will take place in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia from August 25 to September 25. 10, 2023. The top three teams in each group and the best team in fourth place will advance to the World Cup.
Here’s everything you need to know about the fifth window of the qualifying competition.
Canada remains undefeated, but counts on new faces
Canada are the only undefeated team, going 6-0 through the first three windows to advance to the second phase and continuing their unbeaten streak in Group E.
However, Canada will face one of their toughest opponents to date in Venezuela, who suffered only one defeat in the first phase and went 2-0 since moving to the second phase, sitting just behind Canada. in the Group E standings.
A loss to Venezuela would put Canada and Venezuela 8-1 in the standings, while Panama sits fifth in Group E with a 2-6 record, cumulative from both rounds.
Canada has a plus-266 point differential, with Venezuela holding the second-closest total at plus-135. However, Canada faces the challenge this window of being without many of the NBA talents who were available for their games in Hamilton, Ont. and Victoria.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed Canada’s last qualifier against Panama, but Dwight Powell and Kelly Olynyk were available and they were among the best Canadian players in the competition despite only playing three or four games.
Gilgeous-Alexander leads Canada in points per game with an average of 26.3 and 4.7 assists, while Olynyk is averaging 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Canada will now rely on Kenny Chery, who leads the team with an average of seven assists per game in qualifying, as well as AmeriCup star Jahvon Henry-Blair, who averaged 13.8 points per game. game as Canada finished fourth in the competition.
How can Canada qualify?
Since the Bahamas could not beat Argentina in the fourth window of the competition, Canada had to wait until the fifth window to book its ticket to the World Cup.
Now one more win will solidify a spot for Canada, as it would be the first team to nine wins in the competition. Canada has yet to face Venezuela 7-1 in the competition, but did meet Panama in August and won by a convincing 106-50 margin.
Melvin Ejim, who has been a fixture on the Canadian roster even with NBA talent on the court, scored 15 points in that game to go along with Olynyk’s 18-point performance.
Canada, 15th in the FIBA World Rankings, are averaging 102.5 points, 43.5 rebounds and 22.4 assists per game in the competition, all top three in their respective categories.
Who is on Canada’s list?
Although Canada did not name their final 12-man roster ahead of the doubleheader in Edmonton, the 16 players invited to training camp ahead of the fifth window were Trae Bell-Haynes, Melvin Ejim, Aaron Best, Kadre Gray, Jahvon Henry-Blair, Kenny Chery, Thomas Kennedy, Owen Klassen, Conor Morgan, Jean-Victor Mukama, Prince Oduro, Lloyd Pandi, Kassius Robertson, Thomas Scrubb, Phil Scrubb and Kalif Young.
Other players to watch
Jhornan Zamora has played in every game in every window for Venezuela, averaging 12.3 points per game and has played in three straight games scoring 15 or more points for Venezuela against Paraguay and Argentina.
Michael Carrera has also been a dual threat for Venezuela averaging 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, grabbing most of his boards on the defensive glass while averaging one steal per game.
Panama’s record may not look as solid as its competitors, but Ernesto Oglivie will be hard to stop as he averages 16 points, seven rebounds and 2.7 assists per game in the competition, in the top three for Panama in all categories.