Assuming that no other schools plan to leave or join the Atlantic Coast Conference in the next few months, the question remains: given the expansion that the conference has gone through recently — adding Syracuse and Pittsburgh from the Big East, will there be any realignment of the Atlantic and Coastal divisions?
Florida State president Eric Barron has suggested a more natural geographical alignment plan, with Georgia Tech moving into the Atlantic division, where FSU already sits. His suggestion is, of course, mostly for the gain of his own program. At present, Seminoles fans have no divisional rivals in driving distance. Clemson is the nearest, and it’s 125 miles away from Tallahassee. Seems he’d rather fancy a regular visit to the bright lights of Atlanta instead.
David Teel of the Hampton Roads Daily Press doesn’t think it’s likely to happen, but he went ahead and took up the argument for argument’s sake, realigning the divisions in a way that could make more logical sense for the travel scheme:
But who would move from the Atlantic to Coastal, and how would the switches affect permanent crossover partners as Syracuse and Pittsburgh prepare to join the league?
The most logical choice would be Maryland, which would create a Coastal Division in which all schools exceptMiami were within reasonable drives. That would change the alignments to:
ATLANTIC: Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Wake Forest, North Carolina State and Boston College.
COASTAL: Miami, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Duke and North Carolina.
It’s certainly not perfect — FSU to Syracuse and BC is still quite a haul — but it’s a good take on an issue that’s sure to come up again and again.
Food for thought, as the breakers continue to roll in from the realignment tsunami.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
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:
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.