(AP)

Chicago mayor expected to announce plans for $300 million DePaul arena

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Sometimes, it’s amazing that DePaul has struggled as mightily as it has recently. It’s far and away has the greatest college basketball tradition of any school in the state of Illinois, short of the Illini themselves and rivals Northwestern in terms of dominating the Chicago-land collegiate landscape, athletically.

But nonetheless, the last decade has been cruel for the Blue Demons, but the Mayor of Chicago has a plan to help end the hurt, with Rahm Emanuel expected to announce plans to build a $300 million arena for DePaul, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The plans will include $100 million coming from taxpayer dollars in the Chicago area, with the university committing $100 million to the project as well.

“The plans will pimp Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s attempt to lure the Blue Demons to the United Center and the new training facility he is building near the United Center,” one source told the Chicago Sun-Times. “This really ups the competition.”

The arena will be located at McCormick Place. Earlier this year, DePaul declined an offer for a 10-year, rent-free offer from Reinsdorf to move their games to the United Center in downtown Chicago to pursue Emanuel’s offer. The plan also features hotels in the area as well as ideas for tourism trade.

The Blue Demons have played their home games in Rosemont, Ill. since 1980.

“DePaul for years has been talking about a stadium in Chicago that’s better for their basketball team, better for their fans and better to be closer to home,” Emanuel said then.

DePaul has too much tradition to be as bad as it is. Bringing in coach Oliver Purnell was suppose to help things, and he’s recruited at an average level, but there has to be more to it than that. A new arena would help things, especially if you put said arena in an area that could be a social epicenter. But then, it’ll take a strong product inside that arena to keep people filling the seats.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

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.