Mouphtaou Yarou, Darrun Hilliard, Jerami Grant

Report: Syracuse to keep Big East ties with Villanova

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Syracuse and Villanova will continue playing each other in a post-Big East world for the next three seasons.

On Monday, The Juice reported that sources had confirmed that the two programs will play three games over three years in three different locations. Syracuse would get a home game at the Carrier Dome while Villanova will play host at the Wells Fargo Center the next season. The last game of the three-game series would be played at Madison Square Garden, likely part of a doubleheader.

During Syracuse’s farewell tour this season in the Big East, head coach Jim Boeheim made it clear he wanted to continue to play former Big East opponents despite the new home in the ACC. It was announced in January that Syracuse and St. John’s would continue to play each other through the 2015-2016 season.

The out-of-conference schedule Syracuse is putting together over the next few seasons, although difficult, will ennsure the Orange make several appearances at Madison Square Garden until 2016. On Dec. 14, St. John’s host Syracuse at MSG. To start the 2014-2015 season, Syracuse will play in the 2K Sports Classic — meaning the Orange have two games in the World’s Most Famous Arena — and then a neutral site game to end their three-game series with Villanova.

This November, Syracuse is slated to participate in the Maui Invitational and an appearance in the Battle 4 Atlantis in 2015. These out-of-conference games and tournaments are on top of an ACC schedule against the likes of Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Louisville and others in the coming seasons.

Boeheim had previously expressed interest in playing against long-time rival Georgetown.

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

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.