Duke v Virginia

Duke lost, but don’t go getting all panicked just yet

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Sometimes, over-analyzation isn’t necessary.

Sometimes, a loss is just a loss, and that’s the end of it.

Sometimes, looking for a deeper meaning won’t get you anywhere.

And that’s exactly the case with Duke tonight, after the No. 3 Blue Devils lost to Virginia 73-68 in Charlottesville on Thursday night.

The Cavaliers had their backs against the wall, needing this win to firm up a still-questionable NCAA tournament resume. Virginia got a career-high 36 out of Larry Bird — err, I mean Joe Harris — and Akil Mitchell went for 19 points and 12 boards. Tony Bennett’s club jumped all over the Blue Devils early, getting their crowd into the game, and carried that momentum to their biggest win of the season.

We’ve already determined that there are no great teams this season.

We already know that any team in the country can get dropped when they go on the road. According to ESPN’s broadcast, this was the 19th time this season that a top five team has lost to an unranked opponent this season.

And we know that Duke isn’t the same team without Ryan Kelly on the roster.

Is it concerning that Mason Plumlee once again had a no-show performance? Clearly. He’s such an important piece on this team, he simply cannot afford to disappear for 40 minutes on the road. Ask Maryland, they know what can happen when Plumlee does that. Should Blue Devil fans be concerned about Rasheed Sulaimon’s off-night? Ehh, probably not. He’s a freshman and he’s played great this season. He’s allowed an off-night.

The only real takeaway from this game is that Duke doesn’t exactly look like they are peaking heading into their showdown — and rematch — with first-place Miami on Saturday in Cameron.

If they lose to the Hurricanes, then maybe we can start getting concerned.

But UVA is a better team than their record. Duke without Kelly is not as good as their ranking. Losing on the road happens.

So how should we feel about Duke’s loss?

Meh.

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.