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Photo: VCG/Getty Images

The U.S. men's national basketball team lost to France, 89-79, in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup — a loss that fans knew could happen but never actually believed would.

The big picture: The warning signs were there for months, France is really good and this seems to happen every 16 years.

  • The U.S. had won 58 straight games in FIBA and Olympic competition, dating back to its loss to Greece in the 2006 world championship, which led to a bronze medal.

Game recap: France's inside-outside combination of NBA stars Rudy Gobert (21 pts, 16 reb) and Evan Fournier (22 pts, 4 ast) dominated, while Gobert's Jazz teammate, Donovan Mitchell, led all scorers with 29 points. (Highlights)

The silver lining: It's "hard to view this development as anything other than a positive, for several reasons," writes The Ringer’s Zach Kram, citing growth of the sport, among other things.

  • "[A] clean U.S. sweep through the 2019 World Cup field, lackadaisical roster and all, might have appeared to be more of a calamity for the international game than the U.S. loss appears to be for the Team USA program," which might actually be able to recruit a better Olympic roster as a result.
  • "In the past, the sport expanded in part because of Team USA's dominance. But now, international basketball has never looked stronger; ironically, it's up to the Americans to keep up with the rest of the world."

What's next: Team USA plays Serbia today in the 5th-place game, while France plays Argentina in tomorrow's semifinal (the other semifinal is Spain-Australia).

Go deeper: The NBA playoffs are a global affair

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.