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Report: CAA tournament moving to Baltimore

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Sources have told Jeff Goodman of Eye on College Basketball that the Colonial Athletic Association will move its annual postseason tournament to Baltimore starting in 2014.

The move is not particularly surprising. The league was historically heavy on Virginia-based schools, so the Richmond Coliseum made sense as a central location. It was never, as league officials would disingenuously claim, a neutral location. When the final game featured VCU, Old Dominion or George Mason, final-day attendance soared. Especially if two of the league’s local powers squared off against one another for the auto-bid, as has happened five times since the turn of the millennium. Only twice in that same time period has a CAA title game been played without one of the league’s big three on the court.

With VCU gone to the A-10, and Old Dominion heading off to C-USA, the epicenter of the league has clearly shifted. The only member of the big three to stay put is George Mason (so far), so the notion of moving the league tourney into their territory would seem to be a logical decision.

In addition, the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metroplex is more populous, has more attractions and is, as Goodman points out, easier to get to for fans of every team. Fans of Boston’s Northeastern Huskies or Hofstra’s Pride had to take two flights to get to Richmond more often than not (and, unsurprisingly, didn’t do so in great numbers), but will find a direct flight to Baltimore easier and cheaper. Fans of JMU, Drexel, Delaware and W&M will not be particularly inconvenienced, and supporters of Mason and Towson will be able to take public transportation to the games now.

Dig UNC-Wilmington or incoming member Charleston? Well, you’re getting the short end of the stick. It’s a fair cop, society’s to blame.

Essentially, there’s not much point in getting attached to any particular team, building, city or iteration of reality as long as realignment rages unchecked. Richmond today, Baltimore tomorrow, Sheboygan the next? Stranger things have happened.

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.