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Kobe Bryant, World Cup Ambassador shows a ticket of Italy during the draw ceremony of 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Shenzhen

The FIBA World Cup Draw: How Does it Work?

We’re all excited to find out the final groups of the FIBA World Cup, with the draw happening on April 29, 2023. But how does the draw work, exactly?

Now that the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers have concluded, all the 32 nations competing in the tournament have been determined.

With this, the 32 nations who have qualified to participate in the World Cup this year will be drawn into eight groups of four teams.

The four teams per group will then compete against one another in a round-robin format during the tournament, what we know as the Group Stage.

However, in order to determine the groupings of all the participating teams, all nations will be placed into four different pots. From these pots, FIBA will be drawing each country into its respective group β€” and this is the draw on April 29, 2023, that we are all anxiously waiting for.

Pot Mechanics

The draw starts with the pots. You might have come across some images on social media showcasing different pot configurations, although many of these are likely just fan predictions, as FIBA has yet to release the official pots for the World Cup.

However, fans are usually able to release their predictions because pots are always based on World Rankings.

Typically, there are eight pots that each contain four teams. Pot 1 will include the top teams in the world based on the rankings, Pot 2 will contain the next teams on the list, and so on until the eighth, which will contain the nations that sit lowest among the 32.

But, as a rule, FIBA always includes the host nations in the top pots. In this case, as hosts, the Philippines will likely join Pot 1 by default, regardless of their World Ranking of 40th. And as the rest of the rankings currently stand, the remaining slots in the pot may include Spain, the United States, and Australia as the top three teams in the world.

After the pots are finalized, these will be used in the main draw of the tournament.

Draw Mechanics

At the main draw of the World Cup happening on April 29, 2023, FIBA will be drawing all the nations into their respective groups based on the eight pots, wherein each group will draw one team per pot.

This is where Kobe Bryant came in at the last World Cup Draw in 2019 β€” he was randomly picking countries from each (literal) pot to spread out among the groups.

This means that the nations within the same pots will not be allowed to be drawn into the same groups. With this, FIBA prevents the highly-ranked teams from going against one another early in the tournament stages by spreading them out evenly through the groups.

FIBA World Cup 2023 Groups
(Photo credit: FIBA Basketball World Cup)

To illustrate, looking back at the last FIBA World Cup, China, as the hosts, was in the same pot as the top three teams at the time: the United States, Spain, and France. However, China ended up in Group A with Poland, Venezuela, and Ivory Coast.

Thus, this also means that as hosts, the Philippines, although included in the first pot, will not find themselves in the same groups as the top three teams in the world.

FIBA still has yet to reveal the official pots that will be used to organize all the teams in the April 29 draw.

With this, as exciting as it is to imagine the Philippines going up against the top teams right off the bat, we’ll just have to wait and see how the group stages shake out!

Banner image from AFP.


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