Before even a question could be asked, Kane addressed what the scribes were ready to blurt out.
"Reevenngee," the point guard said, flashing his teeth.
It's not like the Cyclones had brushed off that word, or the topic, in the days leading up to the game, but the relief was clear after Wednesday's 83-66 home win over West Virginia (15-13), who they had lost to by 25 points in Morgantown on Feb. 10, their worst defeat of the season.
The morning of that game, the players discovered an editorial package in West Virginia's student newspaper, the Daily Athenaeum, which printed the faces of ISU's five starters and stamped in big, black ink "BUM OF THE GAME," over Kane's face (Kane played WVU thrice when he was at Marshall).
"I'm pretty sure Melvin kept it — I was the Bum of the Game, Mel was terrible, Georges was slow, Dustin was whack, we were overrated," Kane said, referencing the paper's insinuations. "We wanted to get back at those guys and get a win."
The daily made mention of Melvin Ejim's flipping off the BYU crowd, of Georges Niang having cried after the NCAA tourney loss in 2013, of Monté Morris not having been recruited by Michigan State, who he grew up rooting for.
The Cyclones couldn't do anything that night to make the paper wrong. But Wednesday they could and, armed with plenty of ammo — Eron Harris' game-action haymaker on Morris, the Mountaineers not removing their starters until the final minutes — saved quite a bit of face.
"We wanted payback," Kane said. "After what they did to us down there, you've got to want payback. You lose by 30, crowd's going crazy, paper's coming out giving us 'Bums of the Game.'"
Kane dribbled the final seconds down, wanting to go for the exclamation point.
He held off, smartly.
"I was ready to go dunk the ball, but I'm classier than that, so I didn't do it," Kane said.
ISU coach Fred Hoiberg told his players to be ready for a battle by the time they arrived Wednesday. He could tell before the tip it would be their night.
"I really thought our focus in the last couple days of practice was maybe as good as we've had all year," Hoiberg said. "And it carried over into the game. Shootaround was crisp, guys were locked in. We came out with the right mentality and you have to have that against a West Virginia team, against a Bob Huggins team. If you don't, I think you saw what can happen is what happened to us down there."
Kane finished with his sixth double-double of the season (17 points, 11 rebounds) while Georges Niang scored 24. Naz Long drilled five three-pointers. Iowa State held West Virginia to 25 percent from distance after the Mountaineers hit 59 percent in Morgantown.
None of those numbers are the ones Fred Hoiberg wants his players to circle, though. When Monté Morris — who dished out 12 assists — was asked at the postage podium which stat stood out the most to him on the night, Hoiberg leaned to his right. Under his breath, so the microphone couldn't catch it but the freshman point guard certainly could, Hoiberg muttered: "83-66."
Much more understated than Kane, but an effective message nonetheless.