El Paso Times

UTEP, Kentucky hope to commemorate 50th anniversary of 1966 title game in 2016


After returning to Cole Field House for the program’s midnight madness-style event on Friday night, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon discussed the possibility of the Terrapins playing a regular season game at their old home. Now playing their home game at the Comcast Center, Maryland called Cole home from 1955 to 2002.

Who knows if the folks at Maryland will ultimately play a game at Cole, as there’s a need to make sure the arena is up to code before they’re able to do so. But if those renovations are made, there’s another possible game that should be considered for the old building.

On Wednesday UTEP head coach Tim Floyd announced that a plan is in the works to have the Miners take on Kentucky in 2016, fifty years after UTEP’s historic victory over the Wildcats in the national title game at Cole.

Known as Texas Western back in 1966, the Miners were the first national champion to have an all-black starting lineup and they won the crown against a program that had yet to integrate. The Miners’ victory was a watershed moment for both sports and American society as a whole, with the result changing the course of college basketball.

2016 is a long ways away, especially in the world of non-conference scheduling, so there’s always the chances that things could change. But hopefully this game will take place, as it can be a good learning experience for all involved. And three years could be the amount of time needed for the folks at Maryland to spruce up Cole Field House. While the primary reason for that would clearly be to benefit Maryland, it would be nice to see the Miners and Wildcats meet in the building where the original contest took place.

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.