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USA Hoops closing in final University Games roster

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USA Basketball nearly has its “great group” set for the World University Games.

Tough to say if it’s gold medal good, though.

Six players were cut from the roster Sunday, leaving just two more before the final roster is set before Aug. 8 when the team leaves for China. Those cut were: Kim English (Missouri); Yancy Gates (Cincinnati); C.J. McCollum (Lehigh); Khris Middleton (Texas A&M); Tony Mitchell (Alabama); and John Shurna (Northwestern).

Not to say the remaining 14 guys vying for those final spots are lacking. It’s a solid group, athletic and savvy, filled with plenty of scorers, rebounders and shooters. USA and Purdue coach Matt Painter isn’t isn’t blowing smoke with his praise.

“We have a lot of balance,” USA and Purdue coach Matt Painter said in a release. “I think on the interior we have some shot-blockers, we have some athletes, guys that can really go and get the basketball and some real good shooters. We have some good, interchangeable parts, and a lot of talent, both returning talent and young. I’m really excited about the mix we have.”

The 14 finalists? Tim Abromaitis (Notre Dame); Marcus Denmon (Missouri); Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh); Draymond Green (Michigan State); JaMychal Green (Alabama); Scoop Jardine (Syracuse); John Jenkins (Vanderbilt); Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara); Greg Mangano (Yale); Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota); Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy); Darius Miller (Kentucky); Aaric Murray (West Virginia); and Shabazz Napier (Connecticut).

Among that group, I’d consider Gibbs, Jenkins (above), the Greens and Mbakwe to be the only locks. That gives you the two best shooters, rebounders and the best all-around player (Draymond Green). From there, you’ll need a couple of point guards, which means at least two of the Napier-McCallum-Denmon group will make the cut. (Maybe all three given Denmon can play off-guard, but he’d be a tad small.)

After that, take your pick. The coaches (Butler’s Brad Stevens and Tennessee’s Cuonzo Martin are assistants) will be looking for the right mix of chemistry and skill to go for gold. Good luck.

If the 2009 team that featured Evan Turner, Quincy Pondexter, James Anderson, Corey Fisher, Robbie Hummel and Da’Sean Butler (among others) took the bronze, the 2011 team really needs to find that right mix.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

King Rice
AP
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Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.