John Calipari, coach of Dominican Republ

Suck it up, UK fans. This schedule is what you wanted

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I don’t want to hear it, Kentucky fans.

I don’t want to hear one, single word of complaint about your Wildcats non-conference schedule. Because outside of a date with Baylor on December 1st, the only two relevant teams that the Cats will play at home in their non-conference schedule will be Marshall (blech) and Long Island (yuck).

Baylor is a top 25 team with quite a bit of size and athleticism. That will be an entertaining game. Marshall and LIU are both good enough to be tournament teams, which will provide some relevant matchups during the usually quite months of November and December.

But none of those can truly be considered marquee games, and when combined with the eight other games that the Wildcats will play at home, it means that it may not be worth it to purchase a ticket at Rupp until SEC play starts.

While I can understand why some members of Big Blue Nation will be upset by this — hey, I wouldn’t want to pay $75 for a ticket to a 9 pm tip between Kentucky and Samford, either — I have absolutely no sympathy.

This is what you wanted. This is Kentucky being a non-traditional program and scheduling in non-traditional ways. Remember how great you guys thought it was that John Calipari killed the rivalry with Indiana (which would have been played in Rupp this season, for what it’s worth) because Kentucky needs to play their marquee games in neutral sites to prepare for the NCAA tournament? This is what happens when all their marquee games are played at neutral sites. You have to watch the games on TV just like the rest of us.

Are you guys going to make fun of people that trumpet the atmosphere of on-campus games now?

This is, yet again, another genius maneuver by Coach Cal. He knows that, regardless of who Kentucky is playing, that he’ll sell out Rupp. He can prepare his team for the NCAA tournament without any threat to his program’s bottom line, because the bottom line is that Big Blue Nation is so passionate about their “Cayts” that every seat in the building will be filled regardless of their opponent.

And the irony here is that much of this schedule was not Calipari’s fault. He didn’t decide to play Notre Dame in Notre Dame, the schedule-makers of the SEC-Big East Invitational made that choice. Three of the games are part of the Barclays Center Classic. This also just so happened to be the year when Kentucky plays at Louisville. He would have gotten a home game with Indiana, but you know why that isn’t happening.

This is what you wanted, BBN.

You made your bed. Now sleep.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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.