This is the Big Weekend--UPDATED with Schedule

August, 24, 2006
8/24/06
1:58
PM ET
Haven't you always wished there was some way to combine the level of play of the NBA, with the level of excitement of the NCAA tournament?



There's just no way to get around the adrenaline that comes with tons of elimination games, one after another. It's so rare in sports, but it's amazing. The first couple weekends of the NFL playoffs get like that. The World Cup gets like that.



But NBA players almost never get  like that.



Until this weekend.



As you're making your weekend plans, consider this: the tournament took close to a week, and 60 games, to eliminate the first eight teams. This weekend alone, there will be eight games, and another eight teams will go home. That'll be wild. Half the teams, including some contenders for medals, will be gone, just like that.



After this death-defying round (it has a really scary name: the 1/8 finals), it will take until September 3 to eliminate the next seven teams and crown a champion. What's more, if you lose after this round, you keep playing in the consolation bracket (which is sort of like the NIT).



But this weekend? This is that rare opportunity to see NBA players, from all over the world, playing professional grade, win-or-go-home basketball in game after game after game.



And yeah, I just paid $20 to be able to watch all the games online.



UPDATE: I take back the nice things I said about USA basketball's online schedule. ESPN has the tidiest online schedule, with times expressed in a time zone near you! Here's the rundown for this weekend:

Friday, August 25

Argentina vs. New Zealand 9:00 PM ET



Saturday, August 26

Italy vs. Lithuania 12:00 AM ET

Turkey vs. Slovenia 4:00 AM ET

France vs. Angola 7:00 AM ET

Spain vs. Serbia and Montenegro 7:00 AM ET

Greece vs. China 9:00 PM ET



Sunday, August 27

United States vs. Australia 4:00 AM ET

Germany vs. Nigeria 7:00 AM ET



UPDATE!: THE ESPN one is all screwed up too. Here is my own, based on weird voodoo, dogged research, and the actual FIBA schedule, which I have translated to Eastern Time.

Friday, August 25

Argentina vs. New Zealand 9:00 PM ET



Saturday, August 26

Italy vs. Lithuania 12:00 AM ET

Turkey vs. Slovenia 4:00 AM ET

Spain vs. Serbia and Montenegro 7:00 AM ET

Germany vs. Nigeria 9:00 PM ET



Sunday, August 27

United States vs. Australia 12:00 AM ET

France vs. Angola 4:00 AM ET

Greece vs. China 7:00 PM ET

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