LIU Brooklyn

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know LIU Brooklyn

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Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: NEC

Coach: Jack Perri

Record: 20-13, 13-6

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 192
– RPI: 180
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had the Blackbirds as a one of the First Four in Dayton in Monday’s bracket projection.

Names you need to know: Jamal Olasewere (19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds), C.J. Garner (15,6 points, 4.2 rebounds), Jason Brickman (9.7 points, 8.5 assists per game)

Stats you need to know: Offense, offense, offense. LIU Brooklyn ranks sixth in the country in scoring at 79.1 points per game, 30th in assists with 15.2, and sixth in the country with 47.9 percent shooting from the floor.

Tendencies: LIU Brooklyn is one of the most high-octane offenses in the country at the mid-major level. Even having lost star Julian Boyd in December with the torn ACL, the Blackbirds have kept running and scoring. The problem, though, will be defense.

Big wins, bad losses: The biggest non-conference win for LIU was against Lafayette, who is now in the Patriot League championship against Bucknell. Other notable non-conference wins include Rice and Manhattan. They lost by double digits to high-majors including Maryland, Kentucky, and Seton Hall. In the NEC, LIU has beaten Wagner and Bryant.

How’d they get here?: The Blackbirds won the NEC tournament championship over Mount St. Mary’s, 91-70, after beating Quinnipiac in the quarterfinals and Wagner in the semifinals.

Outlook: For as well as they work offensively, defense will be the problem in the NCAA tournament. They rank 342nd out of 347 Division I teams in points allowed per game. If they can make it into the First Four and push the pace with a team, perhaps they can get a win and advance to the Round of 64. Outside of that, their defensive weaknesses will be hard to overcome against high-major opponents.

How Do I know you? This is the third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance for the Blackbirds. They lost to Michigan State in 2012 and to North Carolina in 2011.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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.