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U.S., Tall Blacks To Tangle In Tuesday World Cup Action

We'll miss the chance to see Nick Horvath - the Duke grad was New Zealand's last cut.

James Harden is a key player for the U.S. as the FIBA tournament moves forward.
James Harden is a key player for the U.S. as the FIBA tournament moves forward.
Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

In Monday's FIBA action, the big news is the second win by Senegal: the Lions upset Croatia, 77-75. Senegal is now 2-1.

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Angola, a team Charles Barkley mocked in 1992 ("Somebody hits me, I'm going to hit him back. Even if it does look like he hasn't eaten in a couple weeks. I thought he was going to pull a spear on me. ") did not play Monday but has played twice so far, beating South Korea and losing to Lithuania by 13.

African basketball is having a nice impact on this tournament.

Filipinos love basketball more than just about anybody but haven't had much success internationally. Now, though, they have a ringer in former NBA star Andre Blatch, who kept them in the game with Argentina, losing just 85-81.

Spain also hammered Brazil, 82-63. You have to consider the opponents, but so far, Spain has beaten Iran by 30, Egypt by 37 and Brazil by 19.

On Tuesday, Angola takes on Mexico, Ukraine and Turkey tangle,Australia and Lithuania square off, as do South Korea and Slovenia as well as Finland and the Dominican Republic.

And of course the U.S. takes on New Zealand's Tall Blacks.

We knew that former Blue Devil Nick Horvath, who is a naturalized Kiwi now, was a candidate for the team, but we didn't realize how close he came to making the team or how much the Tall Blacks think of him.

Check this out from Tall Blacks coach Nenad Vucinic:

"It was a very difficult decision for us, so I can't even imagine how difficult it would have been for Nick in this situation. He took it well. We had a meeting, and the boys did probably the best ever haka I've seen in my life performed by the Tall Blacks to Nick. It was very emotional. Nick took it like a man. I wish him all the best and my heart goes out to him."

Take a gander at the picture with the article linked above: Horvath looks nearly unrecognizable as the fresh-faced kid who once prevented a DePaul upset with a last-second three point shot. He could easily be a character on Game Of Thrones, probably as a bad-ass Wildling. For reference, check out this old DBR pic.

Here's an interview with Horvath about his passion for physics, his desire to spend his life in New Zealand, and his desire to move on from basketball and become, eventually, a teacher.