Beginning Aug. 15, each team in a group will play every team in their group once before the Olympic quarterfinals begin on Aug. 26.
The fifth and sixth place finishers in each group will play for ninth through 12th place on Aug. 24.
The top four finishing teams from each preliminary-round group advance to the medal-round quarterfinals. The semifinals will be held on Aug 27, and the gold- and bronze-medal games will be held on Aug. 28. Complete men's basketball tournament schedule
United States: The Americans have two great trump cards in the tournament's best player, Tim Duncan, and best coach, Larry Brown, but questions remain about whether Brown can adapt this talented but inexperienced group to international play quickly enough to keep the U.S. undefeated in Olympic competition in the NBA era.
The U.S. was inconsistent on its exhibition tour, sandwiching blowouts over Puerto Rico and Serbia & Montenegro, and two solid wins at Turkey, around a dreadful doubleheader in Cologne, where it was clobbered by Italy and needed an Allen Iverson prayer to beat Germany, which did not qualify for the Games.
Serbia & Montenegro: The 2002 world champions face many of the same challenges as the Americans. Several experienced players -- including Peja Stojakovic, Vlade Divac, and Marko Jaric -- have opted not to play. While still able to field a talent-laden roster, Serbia & Montenegro has experienced mixed results in pre-Olympic play as it struggles to develop consistent chemistry.
The Serbs were impressive in winning the FIBA Diamond Ball tournament in Belgrade, but stumbled badly at home vs. the U.S. and also in two losses to Spain in late July.
Lithuania: With an unselfish display of passing and shooting, Lithuania pulled off the surprise Eurobasket 2003 championship with Sacramento Kings forward Darius Songaila the lone NBA name on its roster. Point guard Sarunas Jasikevicious was the maestro, earning the tournament MVP for his leadership and court vision. Jaskevicious, who played at the University of Maryland, went on to lead Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague championship.
Runners-up in the FIBA Diamond Ball after losing the championship to host Serbia & Montenegro, Lithuania has split a pair of games with Argentina, and also suffered two losses vs. Greece.
Argentina: The 2002 world silver medalists -- featuring breakneck Spurs star Manu Ginobili -- remain a dangerous outfit, due largely to team cohesion forged through years of experience playing together. The Argentines are a physical, athletic squad, with former Temple and NBA point guard Pepe Sanchez running the show, wingman (and new Bull) Andres Nocioni running wild, and big man Fabricio Oberto running circles around the opposition with his deft post moves inside.
Judging by pre-Olympic play, Argentina has yet to find its form in 2004. In addition to its split with Lithuania, Argentina has lost to Spain and had to fight to get by Angola and China at the Diamond Ball.
Spain: Averaging more than 25 points, Pau Gasol was enormous in leading Spain to silver at Eurobasket 2003. Expect the Memphis Grizzlies standout to continue to carry the Spaniards in Athens.
Spain has arguably been the most impressive team in pre-Olympic competition. Led by Gasol, they have won all seven games they've contested, including two wins over Serbia & Montenegro, a victory over Argentina and a 51-point demolition of Puerto Rico. However, all seven games were played in Spain, leaving questions about whether this team is truly battle-tested.
Length of quarters
19' 8.2" x 19' 0.3"
16' x 19'
Three-point FG distance
23' 9" (22' in corner)
Player foul limit
Number of officials
Yes, without restriction
Yes, but defender cannot be in the lane for three seconds if not guarding his man
Former NBA guard played for Sixers, Hawks and Pistons
Second-round pick by Spurs in 2002
Banger has spent time with Sonics and Celtics
Second-round pick by Hawks in 2002
Seven-footer entering second year at U. of Utah
Former NBA guard played for Wolves and Spurs
MVP of Australia's NBL played summer ball with Nuggets
Center has appeared in 46 career NBA games
Unlike Yao, seven-foot prospect is an athletic forward
Eurobasket 2003 MVP; former U. of Maryland guard
Baby-faced sharpshooter emerged in '03 Euro title run
Another perimeter threat; Playing in third Olympics
Former U. of Wisconsin standout
40-year-old international legend was NCAA star in 1980s
Serbia & Montenegro
2002 world championships MVP
Played with Wolves in '02-03; offers quickness at point
Second-round pick by Knicks in 2002; Suns hold rights
Juan Carlos Navarro
Second-round pick by Wizards in 2002
At age 19, top prospect not expected to play much