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FIBA World Championships Game 1: USA vs. Croatia

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The games finally count.

After several weeks of workouts and exhibition games, Team USA beings play today in the FIBA World Championships when they take on Croatia at the Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul, Turkey at 12:00PM ET. The live broadcast will be on ESPN Classic and online at ESPN3.com. A taped-delay broadcast will air on ESPN2 at 11:00PM ET on Saturday night.

Pacers forward Danny Granger and former North Central/IU star Eric Gordon add some local flavor to the international hoops event. The U.S. team as a whole lacks much top-shelf NBA talent but there is more than enough athletic and talented players to bring home the gold. Defense will have to be the calling card and they could easily catch a loss if the perimeter shots aren't falling.

But as they progressed together through August, it appears that Coach Mike Krzyzewski know what kind of team he has and how he has to use the roster. Getting off to a good start against Croatia to develop some positive momentum and confidence would set the tone for Team USA to track down that gold.

Keep an eye on Ante Tomic for Croatia, not only one of my favorite names in the international game, but also a solid, young 7-footer for Croatia.

After the jump, a few links of interest with stories about the games in Turkey and a long-distance interview of Danny Granger.