Allen Crabbe

Player of the Week: Allen Crabbe, Cal

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Player of the Week: Allen Crabbe, Cal

Let’s put aside, for a second, the shove that had the twittersphere in an uproar last night. Because when you focus solely on that interaction, you ignore the fact that Crabbe scored 14 second half points — including 12 in the final minutes — to lead the Bears back from a 15 point deficit to USC at home. A loss in that game would have been disastrous for Cal’s NCAA tournament hopes, especially when you consider that last Sunday’s win at Arizona and Thursday’s demolishing of UCLA had put them into a great position to make the Big Dance.

Crabbe had 23 points, 10 boards and six steals last night. He went for 16 points, five boards and five assists in the win over UCLA. He had 31 points, seven boards and five assists against Arizona. He’s one of the nation’s best-kept secrets, although if he keeps playing this way, he won’t be a secret for much longer.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team:

G: Russ Smith, Louisville: Smith averaged 19.5 points, 6.0 boards and 4.0 assists in two games this week, shooting 45% from the floor and 40% from three. Rick Pitino told reporters after a win over South Florida that “I thought Russ Smith played the smartest game he’s played in a long time.” Smith playing Smart is the difference between Louisville being a top three seed and Louisville being a national title contender.

G: Ben McLemore, Kansas: The Jayhawks desperately needed a big performance on Monday this week, and McLemore had one of his best games of the season, finishing with 30 points on 9-13 shooting as Kansas stormed past Kansas State in Phog Allen. He followed that up with 13 points in a blowout win over Texas on College Gameday. Not a bad way to snap a three-game losing streak.

F: Scott Wood, NC State: Coming off of a game-winning three to beat Clemson on the road, Wood scored 22 points and hit six threes as the Wolfpack narrowly avoided a disastrous loss to Virginia Tech in Raleigh.

F: Kenyatta Smith, Harvard: After playing a grand total of seven minutes in two games last week, Smith put together a pair of dominant performances as Harvard took a one-game lead on Princeton in the Ivy League race. Smith had 20 points, nine boards and 10 blocks against Penn, and then went for 14 points, seven boards and six blocks in the win over Princeton on Saturday. He also shot 13-14 from the floor and 8-9 from the free throw line.

C: Alex Len, Maryland: Len finished with 19 points on 6-8 shooting, nine boards and three blocks in Maryland’s one game this week, which just so happened to be a win over No. 2 Duke. But more importantly, Len helped the Terps shut down Mason Plumlee, which was the biggest reason they were able to pull the upset while committed 26 turnovers.

Bench: Ramon Galloway (La Salle), Dorian Green (Colorado State), Nick Minnerath (Detroit), Kelly Olynyk (Gonzaga), Marshawn Powell (Arkansas), Nate Wolters (South Dakota State)

You can find Rob 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.