Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma City’

One and done, what now?

March 12, 2009

Iowa State’s men’s basketball season ended Wednesday night in Oklahoma City with a 81-67 loss to Oklahoma State at the Big 12 Tournament.

Few in Cyclone Nation were surprised or, quite frankly, disappointed.

Spring football practice begins March 24. The women’s basketball team is ranked in the top 20 and headed for another NCAA Tournament. ISU’s wrestling team qualified all 10 wrestlers for next week’s national championships. 

There are things to look forward to in Ames.

The Cyclones were playing out the string, building for a 2009-10 season that hopefully includes star forward Craig Brackins. 

The Cyclones finished 15-17 overall, Coach Greg McDermott’s third straight season missing out on postseason play, and were 4-12 in league play.

There’s work to do be done, quite obviously.

Athleticism, consistency, late-game execution — all need major upgrades. Pieces are there for McDermott, who returns everybody but seniors Alex Thompson, Sean Haluska and Bryan Petersen.

Fine people and solid players they are. Program-turning talents they are not.

Iowa State has reason to think next year will better.

Brackins has to realize he’d benefit by waiting another year to jump to the NBA, junior college transfer Marquis Gilstrap has to live up to the hype, Diante Garrett must be able to produce every game out and Chris Colvin has to be ready to play immediately.

Lucca Staiger and Jamie Vanderbeken proved they can be offensive weapons.

Marquette transfer Scott Christopherson should be a factor, judging by his work during practice while he sat out the season. 

Justin Hamilton needs to keep improving but has a nice upside.

ISU’s prospects for next year hinge on Brackins, who would be silly not to at least go through NBA workouts to see where teams are telling him he stacks up with the rest of the draft class.

He can still return if he doesn’t hire an agent.

That’s the postseason storyline we’ll all be following. In the meantime, enjoy the wrestling, Cyclone women’s hoops and spring football updates.

Iowa State’s scholarship breakdown for ’09-10, assuming there are no changes

Seniors: F Jamie Vanderbeken, G/F Marquis Gilstrap

Juniors: F Craig Brackins, G Diante Garrett, G Charles Boozer, G Lucca Staiger

Sophomores: G Justin Hamilton, G Wes Eikmeier, G Dominique Buckley, G Scott Christopherson, G Clinton Mann

Freshmen: F L.A. Pomlee, G Chris Colvin

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The Big 12’s dance card

March 4, 2009

The old guard is back atop the Big 12 Conference standings and looking toward a postseason run.

Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri are the league’s Big Three teams and safely in the field of 65. I think we can all agree on that.

The next tier is where it gets tricky. Who else deserves bids?

This is a league where every year at least five teams and probably six should be playing past the conference tournament.

The way I see it, there’s five pretty solid locks, especially after Oklahoma State’s uber-important victory Tuesday night over Kansas State.

That was a do-or-die game for the ‘Cats, who fell to 20-10 and 8-7. They’re toast, unless they win four games in four days next week in Oklahoma City, a feat that’s never been accomplished in Big 12 tournament history.

Good luck with that guys.

Past the Big Three, it’s Texas and Oklahoma State — each with identical 20-9 overall and 9-6 league records — whose resumes stand tallest before the selection committee.

Texas A&M has a chance to crash the party if its winning streak reaches a half-dozen and  probably beyond. The Aggies (21-8, 7-7) have to win at Colorado and beat Missouri at home. Have to.

A couple wins at the Ford Center next week wouldn’t hurt in solidifying their standing.

It’s a team that’s on a serious roll. Ask Iowa State, which was run out of the gym in the second half of an 87-69 loss in College Station last weekend.

Here’s what I’ve got right now: Five teams in the NCAA field and one on the bubble.

Thoughts?

Cyclone women…bye, bye, bye

March 2, 2009

Iowa State’s women’s basketball team has all but wrapped up a first-round bye in the Big 12 Conference tournament, sitting at 9-5 in the league with two games to play.

The Cyclones are in fourth place following Saturday’s 59-52 victory at Texas Tech and have a hammerlock on an upper-division finish with how the final week shakes out for competitors like Kansas State and Texas, who each have more difficult roads to navigate.

The teams play each other Wednesday night, meaning only one of them potentially can beat out ISU. K-State then has last-place Colorado (11-15, 3-11), while the Longhorns run up against league-leading Oklahoma. 

ISU ends its season with a road test Tuesday at Missouri (13-14, 4-10) and home finale on Saturday against Kansas (16-11, 5-9).

They should win both and finish at 11-5, their best mark since going 12-4 in the 2004-05 season.

The No. 3 seed is a possibility in the event the Cyclones and Texas A&M tie. ISU beat the Aggies, 67-50, back on Feb. 4.

The Cyclones haven’t had an opening-round bye since earning the No. 3 seed for the 2001 Big 12 Tournament, which they ended up winning for the second straight year.

This year’s tournament is  back in Oklahoma City, where ISU had great success two years ago in reaching the championship game as the No. 5 seed. The Cyclones have lost their first game of the tournament just once (2003) since the formation of the Big 12 at the start of the 1996-97 season.

Bye or no bye — and for the record Coach Bill Fennelly says he’s not real sure whether it is helpful or harmful — Iowa State figures to do something memorable next week.

They seem to have a flair for the dramatic in this event.