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WAC announces the addition of Texas-Pan American as its eighth member

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The WAC can breathe a little easier, at least for the 2013-14 academic year.

On Wednesday the conference announced the addition of Texas-Pan American, pushing the number of members to eight for the 2013-14 academic year. The Broncs join Cal State Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon, Idaho, New Mexico State, Seattle and Utah Valley as members of the league.

After this season the WAC will lose more than half its members, which left interim commissioner Jeff Hurd scrambling to reach the “magic number” of eight members for next year. Due to realignment the NCAA gave the WAC a waiver to have fewer than eight members next season, but that’s clearly a number the conference wanted to reach with or without such an allowance.

“The addition of The University of Texas-Pan American adds another important piece to the rebuilding of the Western Athletic Conference,” said Hurd in the release. “UTPA brings a program with 60 years of history and success, and we look forward to the Broncs competing at a high level in the WAC.”

UTPA has been a member of the Great West, which is down to just one member after realignment has led to schools such as Chicago State, Utah Valley (both joining the WAC) and Houston Baptist (headed to the Southland) switching leagues. That one member is NJIT, which is likely holding out hope that the moves that have affected America East, the MAAC and the NEC results in their programs landing a seat at one of those tables.

As for  the WAC, Hurd’s conference isn’t out of the woods in regards to the future past the 2013-14 year as Idaho will be moving its non-football sports to the Big Sky in 2014 and New Mexico State will likely want a situation in which their football (also going independent in 2013) can join a conference with its other sports (Sun Belt?).

The conference could very well wind up back in scramble mode a year from now (if not sooner), but even with that hovering over the WAC Wednesday was still a positive day for both the conference and UTPA.

“This is a defining moment in the history of UTPA Athletics, and it has been a long time coming. We have been working hard for the last few years to transform this department into one that is no longer content with simply being at the Division I level, but instead has a strong group of student-athletes and coaches who can help us compete for championships while excelling in the classroom and the community,” said UTPA athletic director Chris King in the statement.

“This is another step in that transformation process.  Aligning ourselves with a nationally recognized and well-branded conference such as the WAC will allow us to gain national exposure for both UTPA and the entire Rio Grande Valley.”

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report 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.