Kim English

Kim English makes bold prediction, thinks Missouri Tigers will win 2013 NCAA title

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Kim English was a key piece to Missouri’s 30-5 team this past season, though the Tigers fell short of expectations and lost in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament to underdog Norfolk State.

English has now moved on, looking forward to forging a path as a professional, which begins with workouts that lead up to this week’s NBA draft.

But one sound bite has caught some attention and it has little to do with his professional prospects. English told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that he thinks Missouri will win the 2013 national title.

“I can say this now that I’m gone, but I expect them to win a national championship without a doubt,” English said. “We should’ve at least went to the Final Four this past year and it definitely left a sour taste in a lot of guys’ mouth out there, but they should win a national championship. They’re the best team in the nation heading into next season.”

It’s bold, statistically speaking, but you can’t knock a player’s confidence in his former team.

Bovada says Missouri has a 50-1 shot of winning a national title, the same odds as Creighton, Alabama, and Cincinnati.

Could they do it? Backcourt duo Phil Pressey and Michael Dixon return, but the Tigers will have to compensate for the loss of graduating seniors Marcus Denmon and Ricardo Ratliffe.

Transfers will be able to patch up some holes, though, including special APR transfer Alex Oriakhi from Connecticut, Jabari Brown from Oregon, and Keion Bell from Pepperdine.

Missouri moves to the SEC in 2012-13, so the road to a championship would include in-conference battles with Kentucky and Florida, much different than traditional Big 12 battles with Kansas or Texas.

And if you’re one to bet and want to take some advice from a former player, put something down on Frank Haith’s Tigers.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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.