Arizona v UCLA - Pac-12 Semifinals

Arizona head coach Sean Miller reprimanded, fined by Pac-12

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In the aftermath of Arizona’s Pac-12 tournament semifinal loss to UCLA on Friday night, head coach Sean Miller expressed his displeasure with a call that went against the Wildcats down the stretch.

That call was a technical foul assessed to Miller with 4:37 remaining in the game, with Miller stating that he told an official that it was a UCLA player who touched a ball that went out of bounds last.

In a game Arizona lost by two points, it can be argued that the two free throws made by UCLA’s Jordan Adams proved to be the difference in the game.

While Coach Miller was passionate during the postgame press conference he was even more animated in the moments following the game. As a result he was reprimanded and fined $25,000 by the Pac-12 conference.

According to the conference, Miller not only confronted an official on the court but also “acted inappropriately toward a staff member in the hallway of the arena.” The conference released the following statement on the matter Sunday night:

“The Conference has a formal system of evaluation and feedback in place for coaches to express concern about officiating,” said Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott.  “Coaches play a significant role in the overall officiating program and are expected to address concerns through the structure provided,” he added.  “Threatening, intimidating and unprofessional conduct will not be tolerated.”

Pac-12 officials are graded on game performance.  Future assignments are based on this grading structure as well as coach feedback.  The Pac-12 previously warned Coach Miller about inappropriate, post game conduct toward officials.

“Even in tense and trying moments following a game, we expect Pac-12 coaches to conduct themselves in a professional manner,” said Commissioner Scott. “Our coaches represent their teams, their universities and our conference.  We expect them to set an example for our student athletes and to meet the highest standard of sportsmanship and behavior on and off the court.”

Arizona (25-7), the six-seed in the West region, begins NCAA tournament play on Thursday evening in Salt Lake City against 11-seed Belmont.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.