After cruising through a four-game exhibition schedule unbeaten, the United States basketball team begins play in the FIBA World Cup Saturday when it takes on Finland in the first game of group play.
It’s the first ever World Cup game for the Finns and the first game of any kind between the two teams since the United States’ 77-51 win in the 1964 Olymoics in Tokyo.
Finland, led by guard Petteri Koponen, is ranked 39th in the world. The Finns went 5-3 in FIBA Europe play last year and finished tied for ninth.
The game is the first of five the Americans will play in group play, which features a round-robin in each group. The U.S. and Finland are in Group C, which also includes the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Turkey and Ukraine.
The U.S. plays Turkey on Sunday and has a day off Monday before playing New Zealand on Tuesday. You can see the team’s full schedule here.
Here’s what you need to know about the game:
WHO: United States vs. Finland
WHEN: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Eastern time
WHERE: Bilbao, Spain
How to Watch on TV & Online
LIVE STREAM: If you have a cable subscription that includes ESPN, you stream the game online for free at WatchESPN.com or on the WatchESPN mobile app.
United States 103, Finland 70
The U.S. has cruised against competition equal or greater to the Fins, and there’s no reason to think Saturday’s game will be any different. Finland might hang around for a while the way Slovenia and Puerto Rico have done against the Americans in their last two games. But there’s no reason to think this should be a nail-biter.