ACC Basketball Tournament: Boston College v Miami (FL)

Keep an eye on Boston College next season

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Boston College’s season came to an end on Friday afternoon, as the Eagles lost to Miami in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament, 69-58.

The Eagles will leave Greensboro disappointed with the outcome, as they erased an early 13 point deficit to take the lead at the half. The score was tied at 55 with three minutes left in the game, before BC had a couple of bad turnovers and Miami finally found a rhythm offensively.

It’s a tough way to end the year, but it also was another promising performance for a Boston College team that looks like it has a very bright future.

We can start with Olivier Hanlon, who managed to score 15 points on Friday despite being blanketed by a Miami defense that didn’t want to see him pull off a repeat of Thursday’s 41 point performance against Georgia Tech. Hanlon, a freshman, led the Eagles in scoring by averaging 15.4 points.

But Hanlon wasn’t even the best player on BC for the first half of the season. That title belongs to Ryan Anderson, a 6-foot-8 sophomore and  double-double machine that finished the year averaging 14.8 points and 8.0 boards. In fact, there is only one senior and one junior on BC’s roster, and they averaged less than 20 minutes combined this season.

Think about that.

This group of freshmen and sophomores went 16-17 overall and 7-11 in the ACC. They beat Virginia and Maryland this season and lost to both Miami and Duke at home by a single point. In fact, throughout the entire ACC schedule, there were only three games where the Eagles were blown out: at Duke, at Miami and at North Carolina State. I think we can get over the fact that one of the youngest teams in the country lost on the road by a lot to the three most talented teams in the league.

The bottom-line is this: I’m not trying to tell you that BC is going to win the ACC next season. Far from it. The league was down this year as a whole, and that likely played a role in the Eagle’s success.

But there is some young talent on this roster, and those guys — Hanlon, Anderson, Patrick Heckmann, Joe Rahon — are only going to get better.

Mark it down now: Steve Donahue’s team is going to be a trendy sleeper pick come next October.

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.