Trevor Mbakwe, Danny Thompson

Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe channels his inner Courtney Paris with guarantee

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To say that it was a tough offseason for Minnesota senior power forward Trevor Mbakwe would be an understatement. On the heels of a torn ACL that robbed him of much of the 2011-12 campaign, a violation of his probation very nearly landed Mbakwe in jail.

But after avoiding jail time (he now has two additional years of probation) Mbakwe is ready to help Tubby Smith’s team get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.

The Golden Gophers, despite being picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten preseason poll, have the talent needed to make a return to the Big Dance.

And with that in mind, Mbakwe guaranteed on Twitter that if Minnesota doesn’t earn an NCAA bid he’ll repay his scholarship for this season.

In the tweets Mbakwe expressed both his confidence in and his love for his teammates, players who will need a healthy Mbakwe if they’re to be a factor in the Big Ten.

The guarantee, if you recall what former Oklahoma All-American Courtney Paris did a few years ago, isn’t as risky as one would believe.

Paris, a power forward on the Sooners’ 2009 Final Four team, guaranteed a national title to the Lloyd Noble Center crowd on “Senior Night” and vowed to repay her scholarship (approximately $64,000 value at the time) for all four years if Oklahoma didn’t win it all.

“I have a passion for our fans and university, and I want to do something special,” said Paris. “That’s why I put my scholarship on the table. I meant what I said.”

Ultimately the Sooners fell 61-59 to Louisville in the Final Four that season, and the school announced a week later that they wouldn’t hold Paris to the guarantee.

Could the same thing happen for Mbakwe if for the valiant efforts of he and his teammates Minnesota still fell short of its goal?

Guarantees have long been a “tradition” of sorts in sports, but in many cases the most an athlete would have to pay if they were wrong would be ridicule from fans, opponents and the media.

Mbakwe’s essentially written a check with his guarantee, and the hope for he and his teammates is that they (and not the bursar’s office) will be able to cash it come March.

h/t CBS Sports

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.