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Buzz Williams will leave Marquette to take over the vacant head coaching position at Virginia Tech, according to multiple reports.
Williams had been the head coach of the Golden Eagles for the last six seasons, compiling a 139-65 mark and a 69-36 record in league play. He had made the NCAA tournament his first five seasons at the helm, making the Elite 8 in 2013 and the Sweet 16 in two other season, but Marquette missed the postseason all together this past season.
Unless something truly out of this world happens — and, quite frankly, this is pretty crazy — this will go down as the biggest move of the coaching carousel. There is not much basketball tradition at Virginia Tech, and it is currently buried at the bottom of an ACC that is going to add Louisville to the likes of Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse. Credit to new athletic director Whit Babcock for getting this hire done. Williams has quite the rebuilding job in front of him, as the Hokies are coming off of a 9-22 season in which they went just 2-16 in the ACC.
You have to wonder what was going on behind the scenes at Marquette that would make Williams decide that now was the time to leave the school. His relationship with the Marquette brass was strained, according to Yahoo! Sports, and it seems that he was not a fan of the direction that the new Big East was heading in. Throw in the fact that Marquette is currently without an AD — meaning that Williams does not know who his boss will be next year — and that was enough to make him decide to head to Blacksburg. Well, that and reports that a clause in his contract triggered by the change in AD reduced his buyout from $2 million to $100,000.
Williams will reportedly sign a seven-year deal worth around $18 million with the Hokies. He has been a hot name on the coaching carousel for a couple of years, as he was reportedly in the mix at places like Arkansas, Oklahoma, SMU and UCLA recently.
The name that has popped up to replace Williams at Marquette is Ben Howland, the former UCLA coach.
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:
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.