Tuesday, August 27, 2002 Updated: September 5, 2:53 AM ET
Meet the hoops world's Sweet 16
A look at the 16 teams competing in the men's basketball World Championships on Aug. 29-Sept. 8 at Conseco Fieldhouse and the RCA Dome:
POOL A Angola: Perennially the strongest team from Africa, the Angolans will field a veteran-laden team that includes 38-year-old Jean-Jacques Conceicao -- who played in the 1992 game against the United States in which Charles Barkley elbowed an Angolan player.
NBA Rookie of the Year Pau Gasol worked out with Spain Wednesday in Indianapolis.
Canada: Will be without any of its NBA players after Steve Nash withdrew from the team in mid-August and Todd MacCulloch and Jamaal Magloire were prevented from competing because of injuries. Will have a hard team repeating its upstart showing in Sydney.
Spain: Led by NBA rookie of the year Pau Gasol, the Spaniards bounced back from a ninth-place showing in Sydney and were third in the 2001 European championships. Point guard Raul Lopez, whose rights are held by the Utah Jazz, is out due to a knee injury.
Yugoslavia: Widely regarded as the second-strongest team in the tournament, their roster includes NBA All-Star Peja Stojakovic and NBA players Vlade Divac, Predrag Drobnjak, Vladimir Radmanovic and Marko Jaric. Not to be overlooked are forwards Dejan Bodiroga and Dejan Tomasevic.
POOL B Brazil: The runners-up to Argentina at both the 2001 South American championship and Tournament of the Americas, the Brazilians will be hurt by the loss of injured 6-foot-11 center Nene Hilario. The coach's son, Helinho Rubens Garcia, almost single-handedly shot down the United States at the 2001 Goodwill Games.
Lebanon: Runner-up to China at the 2001 Asian championships, Lebanon is coached by former NBA player John Neumann. Its best player is 21-year-old Fadi El Katib, a 6-foot-5 forward.
Puerto Rico: Disappointed their home crowd in 1999 by losing on their home court to Canada, failing to qualify for the Olympics. Point guard Carlos Arroyo, who played briefly with Denver and Toronto, leads a team that could include former NBA players Jose Ortiz and Daniel Santiago.
Turkey: Finished second to Yugoslavia at the 2001 European Championships, and will be making its first appearance since 1936 in an Olympics or Worlds. Players with NBA ties include Hedo Turkoglu, Mehmet Okur and Mirsad Turkcan. Also keep an eye on Ibrahim Kutluay, who plays for Panathinaikos of Greece.
POOL C Algeria: The runner-up to Angola at the 2001 African Championship, the Algerians have no players taller than 6-foot-9. One of three teams making its first appearance ever at a World Championships.
China: Led by 7-foot-5 center Yao Ming, the first pick in the 2002 NBA draft, and may also have 7-foot forward Wang Zhizhi, who spent last season with the Dallas Mavericks. Although the Chinese have some big players, their guards are a liability.
Germany: May have the single best player in the entire tournament _ NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks. Finished fourth at the 2001 European Championship, losing its final two games to Turkey and Spain.
United States: The prohibitive favorite to win the tournament and an automatic berth in the 2004 Olympics. Coached by George Karl of the Milwaukee Bucks, the U.S. brings in a record of 53-0 when using teams comprised of NBA players.
POOL D Argentina: The best team from South America, they had a 19-game winning streak that included the 2001 South American championship and the Tournament of the Americas. Runner-up to the United States at the Goodwill Games. Player to watch is Emanuel Ginobili, who will join the San Antonio Spurs next season.
New Zealand: A dark horse team, they qualified for this tournament by defeating Australia following a tune-up scrimmage and some tutoring from the United States during the Goodwill Games. Defeated Yugoslavia in an exhibition game in mid-August.
Russia: Always one of the toughest European teams, the Russians played an extremely physical game against the United States at the 2000 Olympics. Andrei Kirilenko is the best-known player on a team that has been competing together for years.
Venezuela: Barely qualified by finishing fifth in the Tournament of the Americas. Oscar Torres, who plays for Houston, and Carl Herrera, who formerly played for the Rockets, are on the roster. Talented players include forward Victor Diaz and Venezuelan
League MVP Richard Lugo.