CBT Podcast: West coast action bookends interesting east coast week

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Episode three of the College Basketball Talk Podcast is here. Host Troy Machir is joined by CBT writer Raphielle Johnson to discuss the all the recent action from across the country.

The show opens up with a quick look back at the Arizona vs. Florida thriller, and dives right in to the entertaining subject of west coast hoops. The Wildcats are clearly the top cats out west, but where do we go from there? Raphielle dishes on Colorado, Boise State and Wyoming’s Leonard Washington (A #ChappelleShow fan favorite).

But then there’s the subject of the Big East and Jim Boeheim’s 900th career win. Want to know what Rapheille’s favorite Big East moment is? You gotta click the link below to find out.

Finally, we take a look ahead at what should be a loaded Saturday of college hoops. But before we get to the weekend, there is the matter of Wednesday night’s “Crosstown Classic” between Xavier and Cincinnati.

So if you’re ready for the best 30 minutes in college basketball, click “play” or open the link below and let’s get things started.

Mobile-friendly version: CBT Podcast Episode 3
What did you think about the podcast? Have a question you want featured on the next episode? Have suggestions about the format? Let Troy Machir know by contacting him on Twitter at @TroyMachir

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.