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US to play Iran at basketball worlds

ISTANBUL - ISTANBUL (AP) — The United States will face Iran, and Greece will take on Turkey in a pair of group games at the world basketball championship.

The Americans and Iranians were drawn into Group B on Tuesday along with Croatia, Brazil, Tunisia and Slovenia. The tournament will be played Aug. 28-Sept. 12 in the cities of Ankara, Kayseri, Istanbul and Izmir.

The United States and Iran have never met in a top level men's or women's FIBA competition.

The 24 teams at the men's tournament were drawn into four groups of six, with the top four from each advancing to the knockout round.

U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has led the Americans to a pair of third-place finishes in the worlds, said in a statement he doesn't "see a team in any of the groups that isn't capable of advancing into the next round."

"Our preliminary round group has an interesting mix of talented and tested veteran national teams like Brazil, Croatia and Slovenia, as well as two less experienced, but nonetheless talented teams in Iran and Tunisia who are making their first appearances in a world championship," Krzyzewski added.

Greece, which will also face China, Russia, Puerto Rico and Ivory Coast in Group C, appears to have drawn the toughest opposition. The Greeks reached the 2006 final after upsetting the Americans but lost to Spain.

In other groups, defending champion Spain will lead Group D against Lithuania, Lebanon, France, Canada and New Zealand, and Argentina will face Serbia, Australia, Jordan, Germany and Angola in Group A.

The Argentines are the top-ranked team in the world, but the United States won the Olympic gold medal last year in Beijing.

The winner of the worlds automatically qualifies for the 2012 London Olympics.

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