James Robinson

James Robinson replaces Jerami Grant on Under-19 team

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USA Basketball announced Syracuse forward Jerami Grant, who has been diagnosed with mononucleosis, will be replaced by his former DeMatha Catholic High School teammate and current Pittsburgh guard James Robinson on the Under-19 team, preparing for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.

“I’m disappointed and feel bad for Jerami,”  head coach Billy Donovan said in a statement from USA Basketball on Tuesday. “Unfortunately even since the tryouts he just never seemed himself; it seemed like he was ailing – he had a sore throat, then it was strep throat and nothing really helped; we even got him on penicillin and we took him for some blood work and it came back mono.”

The 6-foot-3 Robinson was one of 16 finalists for the Under-19 team before that list was trimmed to just 12. Robinson averaged 6.1 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game for the Panthers, starting in all but one game during his freshman season. Robinson is also familiar with USA Basketball, winning a gold medal with the Under-18 team.

“I think bringing James (Robinson) back is a good thing because he played last year on our U18 team,” Donovan added. “He was one of the last guys not to make this year’s team. We made the decision this year to go with five guards and seven front court guys, and that’s a little bit of a different look than it was last year when we were a little bit more guard heavy.

“James coming back gives us some stability at the point guard spot, gives us another strong, physical guard, gives us a guy that had a lot of playing experience last year at Pitt.”

USA Basketball begins preliminary play on Thursday against the Ivory Coast. Followed by games against China and Russia the next two days. The semifinals and finals are scheduled on July 5-7.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

BUBBLE BANTER: All of the action on the fringe of the NCAA tournament

Fred VanVleet
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.

Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.