Billy Minardi Classic - Florida International v Louisville

Rick Pitino and Louisville to open 2014-2015 season against son Richard and Minnesota?

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source:  Rick Pitino really wants to coach against his son Richard again. The father and son meet last season when Rick’s eventual national champion cruised past Richard’s Florida International team.

The younger Pitino is now at Minnesota, which sets up a potential Big Ten-ACC clash beginning next season when Louisville leaves the American after a one-year stint. According to WDRB.com, the elder Pitino wants the 2014-2015 campaign to open against his son’s Golden Gophers on a neutral site.

“I will let you guys in on the scoop of the year,” Pitino said in an interview with me (Rick Bozich), Eric Crawford and Steve Andress of WDRB Sports.

“If everything goes according to Hoyle, we will open up on a military base with Minnesota on national television next season.”

Where?

“We’re working on that now, but it could be Puerto Rico if it all works,” Pitino said. “We haven’t signed contracts. It’s a long way from done. But it could be on a military base opening the season next year.”

Rick first stated he wanted to go head-to-head with his son again in early September during a press conference at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Though back then, he wanted Louisville to get paired with Minnesota as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

“I’m hoping, that the Big Ten/ACC Challenge … I’m hoping that we get matched up them because it terms of a home and home, I’m not playing him,” Pitino said. “I think it would be fun. I played him at FIU and he was totally mismatched, and at least we can play on more equal terms.”

The next game between the two coaches may be on more equal terms, but father and son don’t seem to be on the same page. Several weeks after his father’s comments at Hall of Fame, Richard cooled the talks of the potential matchup.

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.