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A national basketball-only league? I’m listening …

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I’m just as sick of talking about realignment as you are.

That’s why this is really the only post that I’ve written on the subject since Maryland and Rutgers decided to set this entire process back in motion.

Again.

At this point, however, it’s worthless to bemoan the fact that rivalries have been destroyed, the Big East has been turned into a pile of Conference USA’s ashes and we’ll now have SMU-Providence and Rutgers-Nebraska as intraconference rivalries.

What we should be doing is figuring out a way to make the Big East’s basketball schools salvageable and nationally relevant. And Pete Thamel of SI.com floated an interesting idea in a column this afternoon:

There has been preliminary and very informal discussion about whether a national basketball-only league could be formed if the Big East dissolves, according to a television executive.

Specific teams have not been talked about, but the thought would be to create a power basketball league that spans the country — think Georgetown to Gonzaga — that could maximize visibility, profitability and exposure, though it may continue to pale in comparison to football.

“I think there’s been chatter about, ‘Can that exist?'” said one television executive. “It’s going to be hard to justify rights fees for the Big East putting Providence and Central Florida on. There has to be some sort of chatter: ‘Is there anything out there better?'”

The executive added: “I think that would be attractive. It would be naive of me to say that no one has thought of that.”

Big East schools resisted adding San Diego State in basketball because of travel cost and a lack of desire to go that far. But could desperate times open up the door for a national hoops league?

Is that ideal? San Diego State and Georgetown inhabiting the same conference?

Well, no.

But it’s a sign that at least one person is thinking about college hoops as they lay waste to collegiate athletics as we know it.

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.