James Robinson, Jerian Grant

Notre Dame beats Pitt, but should they be worried?

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Notre Dame’s been a weird team to follow since their five-overtime epic with Louisville.

They’ve gone 2-1, with wins over DePaul and now, a solid, scrappy victory at no. 20 Pittsburgh.

But looking at the numbers Fighting Irish fans might want to keep an eye out. The 38.3-percent shooting is indicative of their past two games, including the 39-percent clip in their 71-54 loss at Providence. Also, don’t discount they allowed a Blue Demons team to shoot 48-percent in a 81-78 overtime win for Notre  Dame.

It’s not that this team isn’t playing to it’s potential, and it’s definitely not that this team is still feeling the effects of the Louisville game. But it’s something to watch.

They’ll need more than the team-high 13 points from Jerian Grant and Jack Cooley. A lot better than the offensive start they had, missing 18 of their first 19 shots.

The Panthers, who hold opponents to 55 points per game, is a solid defensive team. They held the Irish to 19 first half points. Problem is, Notre Dame is a better offensive team than Pittsburgh is defensively. If they let themselves fall behind like that again, who knows what could happen, depending on the opponent.

There won’t be many night when they get the help of Garrick Sherman, who had zero points in just six minutes tonight. And there will be games when they play teams, like the Syracuses and Louisvilles, again, that will combined solid defense with the ability to create offense.

Against teams like that, teams that the Fighting Irish are going to have to beat to make a run through the Big East Tournament, they’ll need to perform better offensively.

If I root for the Irish, I’m not too worried. There’s no need to put my team under the microscope if they’re winning. But it’s obvious that the recent stretch has worn them down. And it’s going to be up to them whether or not it’s going to stay that way or change.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

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.