Cyclones’ Big 12 debut an encouraging one

Watched the Iowa State-Texas men’s basketball game late last night after getting home from the Cyclone women’s victory over Oklahoma State.

Despite the loss in their Big 12 Conference opener, there was a lot to be optimistic about.

Diante Garrett was strong with the ball, made good decisions and rebounded well.

Lucca Staiger showed he can do more than shoot 3-pointers. He drove the lane several times, setting up opportunities for teammates. If you aren’t excited about all the things he brings to this team then I don’t what game you’re watching.

Craig Brackins was swarmed most of the game and struggled for the first 30 minutes, but still finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds. He’ll see defenses geared to stop him the rest of the way, but he’s growing up quickly and is one of the Big 12’s most talented players.

Justin Hamilton showed he’s got some pretty good skills around the basket and he can play above the rim with an impressive dunk over a Texas defender… which he didn’t quite know how to celebrate. 

The bench needs to find an offensive spark though.

What’s happened to sharpshooting guard Wes Eikmeier? Jamie Vanderbeken has had his moments, Alex Thompson and Charles Boozer are in the game more for their defense and Sean Haluska isn’t a guy that can create for himself.

The Big 12 is not the beast it was a year ago. ISU went 6-10 and 4-12 in Coach Greg McDermott’s two seasons. Can the Cyclones do better?

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