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2014 NCAA Tournament East Region: Instant Analysis

source: AP
AP Photo

In a bit of an upset, Virginia become the fourth No. 1 East after winning the ACC tournament title over Duke on Sunday afternoon. They won the ACC regular season title as well, and they will be playing in Raliegh for the first weekend. Assuming Virginia doesn’t become the first No. 1 seed to get bounced by a No. 16 seed, they will face the winner of Memphis-George Washington.

Villanova was the No. 2 seed in the east, with a road that could take them through Buffalo and Madison Square Garden. The committee did us a favor with the No. 7-No. 10 game in that region, as UConn, a former Big East foe of Villanova, will be squaring off with St. Joseph’s. Villanova and St. Joe’s are bitter rivals. Their games are called The Holy War. That’s serious.

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Iowa State, the Big 12 tournament champs, will be the No. 3 seed in the East, taking on a sneaky-good NC Central team. The No. 6 seed in the East is North Carolina, and they square off with No. 11 seed Providence, the Big East tournament champions.

The No. 4 seed in the East region is Michigan State, one of the most talented teams in the country that just so happen to be streaking at the right time. They rolled through the Big Ten tournament, but will face a tough matchup with Delaware in the first round.

MORERead through all of our bracket analysis here

Cincinnati earned the No. 5 seed in the East, but they will be heading out west to take on No. 12 seed Harvard in the opening round. That’s a tough matchup for the Bearcats, who will run into a team that is almost as stingy as they are defensively.


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.