Syracuse St. Johns

Syracuse and St. John’s will continue series until 2015

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Despite Syracuse’s move to the ACC next year and St. John’s exploring options with the Catholic 7, the two original Big East members will continue to play one another for the next few seasons.

Wednesday, the two schools announced that the Orange and Red Storm will play each other through the 2014-2015 season. The two New York schools will play Dec. 14 at Madison Square Garden and in the Carrier Dome during the following season.

“There are traditional series that are very important to us that go beyond conference affiliations,” said Syracuse director of athletics Daryl Gross. “As we continue to aggressively secure rivalries that are dear to us, we are pleased to announce the continuation of this great series between two outstanding universities.”

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has been vocal about conference realignment and had previously stated he wanted to keep Big East rivalries alive with schools like St. John’s, Villanova, and Georgetown.

“The rivalry with St. John’s has been one of the strongest for our program,” said Boeheim. “We had some great games when I was in school and the series continued to grow with coach (Lou) Carnesecca at St. John’s right up to today with coach Lavin.

“Playing in Madison Square Garden is always a special event for Syracuse and for our fans in New York City. It will be great that our fans in Central New York will have the chance to see St. John’s in the Dome the following year.”

This will continue the battle between two schools that claim to be “New York’s team.” Syracuse, currently atop the conference standings, is scheduled to host St. John’s on Feb. 10, which would have been another tour on Boeheim and Cuse’s Big East farewell tour.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.