Sizing Up Slovenia
Coach: Memi Becirovic
Key players: Jaka Lakovic, Goran Dragic
Analysis: Slovenia has been a source of young players for several years, first within the former Yugoslavia, and then on its own merit.
The strength of this team lies in its stature and ability. Lakovic is one of the best backcourt players in Europe. Add NBA player Goran Dragic and forward Sani Becirovic, and you have a quality team with good ballhandling skills and deep fundamentals that can go beyond the first round and perhaps into the quarterfinals.
As part of their preparation, Becirovic's guys played a friendly tournament in Maribor with their counterparts from Serbia, Russia and New Zealand.
"Our game improves week by week, and we are much more coordinated," Becirovic told FIBA.com.
Team USA Wins Opener Over Croatia
DDL Schedule: Team USA In Action
Here's Team USA's schedule for the 2010 FIBA World Championship slated for Aug. 28 to Sept. 12 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Join ESPN and Daily Dime Live for each game:
• Saturday: Team USA 106, Croatia 78
• Sunday: Team USA 99, Slovenia 77
• Monday: USA vs. Brazil
at Istanbul, Turkey; 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN3.com (reairs ESPN2 at 11 p.m. ET)
• Wednesday: USA vs. Iran
at Istanbul, Turkey; Noon ET, ESPN, ESPN3.com (reairs ESPN2 at 11 p.m. ET)
• Thursday: USA vs. Tunisia
at Istanbul, Turkey; 9:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN3.com (reairs ESPN2 at 12:30 a.m. ET)
Keeping Up With Lamar
Though he's playing center for Team USA, Lamar Odom had the chance to show he's still capable of handling the ball in the win over Croatia.
Off Bubble, In Rotation
ISTANBUL, Turkey -- The first time Eric Gordon ever watched Team USA play, he was a middle school student in Indianapolis and the 2002 FIBA World Championship was being held in his hometown.
He went to the cavernous old RCA Dome and couldn't believe what he was seeing unfold before his eyes, as the American team trailed for almost the entire first half against Yao Ming and the Chinese national team before mounting a comeback and then applying a strong finishing kick over the final 14 minutes to win it.
That was back when the U.S. federation was going through its darkest days, enduring three losses and finishing sixth after entering the tournament with an unbeaten record in the 10 years since NBA players were first allowed in international competitions.
"I remember that team, they just weren't together," Gordon said after scoring a team-high 16 points as Team USA opened play in the world championship with a 106-78 victory over Croatia on Saturday night. "I think we're a way different team, a way better team."
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