Louisville’s looking to Kevin Ware to step into starting role

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Louisville returns a chunk of its lineup from the 2012 Final Four team, including guards Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Wayne Blackshear. But Rick Pitino recently said that if the season started today, sophomore Kevin Ware would get the nod at shooting guard.

Yep, Kevin Ware.

He wasn’t so hot as a freshman (in 20 games played, he shot 29.6 percent and averaged one point per game), but his game’s improved so much over the summer that he’d get the nod. How’d that happen? Let’s ask C.L. Brown of the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“What we do basically is we show them the perfect jump shot, which is Ray Allen with his legs, with his form and technique,” Pitino said. “We put it on a split screen with theirs, and the timing is the same. It shows their mistakes, and we go out and work on it.”

Pitino added that the key to Ware’s improvement is not just repetition.

“If you’re repeating a bad shot, you’re not gaining anything,” he said. “You have to be technically right.”

Ware could conceivably be a backup point guard, but Siva’s unlikely to spend much time on the bench and Smith’s usually an effective replacement when needed (provided he’s hitting). And it’ll be interesting to see how Ware’s defense has progressed.

But mostly, the Cards need his shooting. For a team that leaned on its defense in March, having a guy who can replace Kyle Kuric’s perimeter shooting is a necessity. We’ll see how it pans out.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

POSTERIZED: Texas A&M-CC with an off-the-backboard dunk

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This is pretty nice from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who has made a habit out of getting themselves on the highlight reel.

Here’s another angle of the dunk:

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: