GROSS

Neither Pittsburgh nor Syracuse pleased with SEC/Big East Challenge right now

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Not that anyone was expecting things to be great between Pittsburgh, Syracuse and the Big East with those two schools leaving for the ACC at some point in the near future.

But with the announcement of the match-ups for the SEC/Big East Challenge things may have reached a new low.

According to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross sent an email to the conference saying that the Orange would not be taking part in the event.

The official line from Gross was that the school was “over committed” and therefore could not accommodate their scheduled game at Arkansas as a result.

OJ this is premature as we are over committed and can’t play at this point.

I wish we could have agreement as you have put us all in what could be an embarrassing situation

We are not confirmed. I find it amazing that there is no discussion to make a better plan. We have been collegial with the Big East yet it appears that there is no willingness to cooperate. Daryl

Syracuse still has the road game portion of the Challenge agreement to honor, but it’s pretty obvious that they aren’t too thrilled with that prospect.

But while Syracuse is mad that they are playing in the event, Pittsburgh is upset with the fact that they aren’t.

According to athletic director Steve Pederson and head coach Jamie Dixon, they were told by the Big East that Pitt would receive a home game in the event after playing at Tennessee last season.

Instead the Panthers find themselves needing a home game to add to their schedule.

“We were led to believe we had a home game all along,” Pederson said. “At no point were we told that we wouldn’t get a home game. They’ve put us in a difficult spot. All Jamie and I were waiting on was who we were playing. We’re very disappointed, obviously.”

“We went on the road last year, and there was a clear assumption that if we went on the road that we would get a return,” Pederson said. “I feel bad for our players. We have a hole on our schedule that we have to fill now.”

So what happens now? While Syracuse doesn’t want to play, Pittsburgh does but they’re owed a home date per the Challenge’s agreement.

Does Syracuse end up having to make room for the game, or is a change made to the schedule? Just one more bit of drama for the Big East to address during the summer.

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

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.