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Canada on brink of clinching FIBA basketball World Cup 2023 berth in Edmonton

EDMONTON — The Canadian senior men’s national team will kick off the fifth window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifiers Thursday in Edmonton.

They will take on Venezuela on Thursday at 9:10 p.m. ET/ 7:10 p.m. MT and Panama on Sunday at 7:10 p.m. ET/ 5:10 p.m. MT. Both games will be played at the Edmonton EXPO Centre and can be seen on Sportsnet ONE and SN NOW.

“We’re incredibly excited to have home court advantage in Edmonton, as the city is a long-standing partner of our program with a passionate basketball fan-base ready to cheer us on as we work to punch our ticket to the FIBA World Cup in 2023,” Canada Basketball President and CEO Michael Bartlett said. “With our men’s team one win away from qualifying, Canada Basketball thanks the CEBL, City of Edmonton and Explore Edmonton for helping host these meaningful and exciting games.”

Trse Bell

Where Canada stands as the fifth window opens

The Canadian senior men’s national team comes into this window of qualifiers as the lone undefeated team in the Americas. They enter Thursday’s game with a perfect 8-0 record and are the top team in Group E. Canada’s most recent victories were a pair of wins against Argentina and Panama in the August 2022 window. A win against Venezuela on Thursday would qualify Canada for the World Cup.

How to Qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023

In the second round, 12 teams are split into two groups (Group E and Group F). Within those two groups, each team will play both home and away against the three new teams in their group over three different windows of play. The second round has windows in August 2022, November 2022 and February 2023 and each team plays two games per window. Canada is undefeated through the first round and through the fourth window that opened second-round play. After the final window of play in February 2023, the top three teams in Group E and Group F, along with the fourth-best team, will go on to qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

Opportunity at hand

The Canadian Senior Men’s National Team is currently ranked 15th in the FIBA World Ranking presented by Nike. While Canada is the lone undefeated team, Venezuela is in second place in Group E with a 7-1 record.

Thanks to their perfect 8-0 record, Canada would qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 with a victory over Venezuela, while a loss would leave the two teams with identical 8-1 records.

Roster moves

Canada finalized their 12-man roster for the opening game on Thursday night.

Much of the roster for the fifth window has CEBL experience and the games in Edmonton will be played at the Edmonton EXPO Centre, home court of the two-time CEBL Champion Edmonton Stingers.

“To have the senior men’s national team playing on home soil for a chance to clinch a World Cup berth is a story that hasn’t been told for decades and one that could unfold in Edmonton,” Mike Morreale, CEO of the CEBL said.

Manning the sideline

Senior men’s national team associate head coach Nate Bjorkgren will be leading the team through this window. He will be assisted by Nathaniel Mitchell, Michael Meeks and Philip Jevtovic.

Where to watch

Fans in Canada can catch Team Canada in action live on Sportsnet ONE and SN NOW at 9:10 p.m. ET/ 7:10 p.m. MT on Thursday.

This article originally appeared on Canada Basketball’s website.

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