florida lsu

No. 1 Florida rolls past LSU for 21st straight victory

Leave a comment

Florida continues to roll through the SEC as the No. 1 Gators earned their 21st consecutive victory with Saturday’s 79-61 home SEC win over LSU.

The Gators had tremendous balance on offense in the win as five Florida players had seven-to-10 field goal attempts to help Florida shoot 57 percent (31-for-54) from the field and 56 percent (13-for-23) from the three-point line. Florida also had 18 assists on 31 field goals and its defense held LSU to 38 percent shooting.

Florida was led by Dorian Finney-Smith with 16 points while Casey Prather and Michael Frazier II each contributed 14 points while senior guard Scottie Wilbekin had 11 points as well.

The Gators haven’t lost in nearly three months — since Shabazz Napier’s buzzer-beater on December 2nd — and Florida has only lost two true road games this season to UConn and Wisconsin.

So why aren’t more people talking about the Gators?

A weaker SEC than was initially perceived might have something to do with it. Kentucky isn’t the juggernaut that some believed in the preseason and the SEC doesn’t have a lot of NCAA Tournament locks. But Florida still owns wins over Kansas and Memphis — as well as a road win at Rupp — and the Gators are finally coming into their own as they get healthy and get Chris Walker into the rotation.

If Florida beats Kentucky at home next Saturday might they get more respect for a No. 1 team that has won 21 straight games? Time will tell, but the Gators are deep and dangerous as we finally begin the month of March.

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)
Leave a comment

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)
Leave a comment

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.