Cyclones Trying To Turn Things Around Against CU

Speaking at a Big 12 conference call, Iowa State Head Coach Larry Eustachy talks about the game with the Buffs tonight and the state of Cyclone basketball right now. Cyclone Nation's Bill Seals covers the team and had this to report.

Program's Outlook Looking Up

Iowa State head coach Larry Eustachy spoke with the Big 12 media Monday morning via teleconference about the re-emergence of point guard Tim Barnes, as well as the long-term outlook of the program.

On facing Colorado this week:

"I think they're very deep and well coached with a lot of talent. It looks like they have a couple NBA players. They're obviously an NCAA Tournament team, so we have our hands full."

On Tim Barnes' confidence returning:

"He has to stay with it, but I thought he was really in over his head to start league play with the schedule we had and who he had to go against. The T.J. Fords. The Hollis Prices. The Kirk Hinrichs. You're talking about NBA guys. To go from a level he was at to playing against those guys was a shock. I thought it set him back. But it's really common with a junior college player or freshman."

"He lost confidence during that time, and with some success, he's gained it and put together a bunch of good practices and three good games. Our only chance to win is if he plays well."

On long-term outlook for Iowa State basketball:

"I feel really optimistic. We're in a transition period, which I talked about starting last year. There is no easy, quick fixes with only being able to sign eight players over a two-year period. You're going to see a lot of programs that, when recruits don't work out for whatever reason, take steps back before they go forward. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon.

"We'll have five that will all be back next year that hung in there and beat a good Kansas State team under real adverse situations. Plus we're going to have a real good recruiting class coming in. It's all about players and I like the direction we're going with our talent level. It's being upgraded and our guys are getting better. I feel very positive."

On possibility of ups and downs further down the road, too:

"I think we also have to realize is that Iowa State has only been to the NCAA Tournament three years in a row once in the history of this school. There is great tradition, but there is better tradition at different places. That's what we're trying to achieve - to annually not be wondering if we are going to go, but who we're going to play in the tournament.

"That's going to take some time and is a level that this program has never been. It's kind of an every three- or four-year program, where you pop and rebuild, but I don't accept that. That's not what we're about. We won't relinquish to that. We expect more."

On player defections affecting the long-term outlook:

"It certainly has with the new rules. When we've been good, we've had good solid guys sticking around. When you struggle, you see these things happen with teams. It has happened to a lot of schools in a lot of leagues, and we're one of them. It's part of it.

"We're demanding and expect our players to play a real certain way of basketball and play every play the right way. That's not for everybody. But it also is a Catch 22, because it's the way we won two championships. It's the way our guys bought in and played."

On playing five guys against Colorado:

"It's possible, with what happened to Clint Varley. I've got (assistant coach) Steve Barnes in the room stretching out, and we may have to put him in there. Maybe we can put him on (David) Harrison and move him out a little bit.

"It's a great challenge. I think we'll be up for it. I never have played just five guys and we certainly won't do that. We've got other guys like Omar Bynum and Skogs (Andrew Skoglund). Hopefully Marcus (Jefferson) gets good news on his mother and is back tomorrow night."

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