North Carolina v Duke

North Carolina guard Nate Britt to shoot predominantly right-handed in 2014-15

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With North Carolina losing the player expected to be its highest scoring perimeter option in P.J. Hairston, roles changed for Roy Williams’ guards early in the 2013-14 season. Marcus Paige became the Tar Heels’ leading scorer while also being asked to serve as their primary distributor, and Nate Britt played just over 20 minutes per game at the point.

Britt was solid in his debut campaign, posting averages of 5.1 points and 2.4 assists per game for North Carolina. But there was a significant issue that Britt wanted to address during the offseason: his shooting. Britt shot just 36.7% from the field and 25.0% from beyond the arc last season, numbers that he’ll need to improve in 2014-15 in order to receive similar (or more) minutes.

Apparently Britt’s taken a step not seen too often when it comes to players looking to improve their shot: after shooting predominantly with his left hand in 2013-14, Britt will be taking the majority of his shots with his right hand in 2014-15.

While this move is rare it isn’t unprecedented, with Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Eisenberg noting in his story on Britt’s switch in shooting hands that Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers made a similar switch during an offseason. And there’s also the case of Drexel guard Tavon Allen, who’s ambidextrous and can shoot jump shots with either hand (he prefers to shoot lefty from beyond the arc).

Britt’s progression will be interesting to watch for two reasons: whether or not his percentages improve, and if opponents are caught off-guard by the player they last saw as a southpaw suddenly firing up jumpers with his right hand.

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.