From The Balcony

Cyclone Nation's own Mark Hersom gives his weekly analysis on Big 12 basketball. Check out weekly commentary right here only at Cyclone Nation.

Can anyone tell me what does Baylor football and Texas A&M basketball have in common with relation to Iowa State???

No, you are kidding, right?

Iowa State is in the record books for the Big 12 with what!!!

In the same season?!!

Yes, your Iowa State Cyclones are going down in history as being the team to allow Baylor to win its first road Big 12 conference game for football and to allow Texas A&M its first conference road victory since it was in the SWAC when it won at Baylor back in 1991. ARGGGGGGH!! Please tell me there is some good news ahead!


Well here is the good news, Iowa State is only one game out of second place. The bad news so are ten other teams. This is not the year to lose conference games at home and to lose against teams with terrible RPI's like Texas Tech on the road. I had said at the beginning of the year that this team better go at least 10-6 in league play in order to solidify a spot in the NCAA tournament. Right now the Cyclones will have to finish winning eight of its last eleven games to do that. It is not out of the realm of achievement, but Wayne Morgan's team can not afford to lose any more home games. It is shaping up as this year's Big 12 tourny will be do or die for all teams but Texas. This will make for an exciting tournament but as a Cyclone fan I do not want to be sweating bullets on Selection Sunday. We squeaked in last year because of the way we finished. This year we might not be as lucky.


Many outsiders have said the Big 12 is down this year. Well here is their record vs. other top conferences.

ACC 0-4; Big East 4-3; Big Ten 3-2; Conference USA 7-2; Missouri Valley 2-1; Pac Ten 1-2; SEC 4-4; WAC 3-3; Mountain West 8-2.

To say this league is bad because it's balanced is not fair. To me what the East Coast sees is Kansas down so the rest of the league sucks. I'm afraid the Mo Valley will get four teams in meaning the Big 12 will most likely match it.


I'm all about statistics when it comes to basketball as they tell a lot about a team. Here are Iowa States important stats that may shock some of you. ISU is scoring 185 points in the first half while allowing only 158 points. In the second half, which used to be ISU's strong half, they are scoring 179 points but allowing 274 points. Not being able to hold a team down might mean that the other team is better at making adjustments at halftime. Something that hasn't happened to Cyclone teams in a long while. It's funny, Iowa State used to win almost every game if it scored 40 points first. The last two Saturday's, it has not.


In Big 12 play, ISU is allowing opponents to shoot 52.6%FG while Cyclones are shooting 45.4%. The killer 3-point FG% is worse allowing opponents to shoot 43% but only making 38.6%. The Cyclones are being out rebounded 34.2/game vs. 28.2/game.

Opponents however are turning the ball over on an average of 18.8/game with the Cyclones only 13.8/game. This is something ISU needs to take advantage of.


Some player statistics of regular season vs. conference play are as follows. Rahshon Clark was shooting 35.7% from three point range in regular season but only shooting 28.6% in conference. There are a couple bright spots, Jiri was only 2 for 14 in 3-pointers and in the conference he is 4 of 7. John Neal pre-season was 6-16, and in league play is 7 of 10!

Free throws should have won the game against A&M as this season the Cyclones were doing a better job. Curtis for the season is shooting 69% but in conference play is 72%. Here are the rest of Cyclone notables in this category with season avg & conference avg.;

Will- 62.7%/ 79%, Rashon-83%/ 85%, Jiri-68%/ 64%, Shawn-74.3%/ 81%.


Right now my selections for All Big 12 first team are

6-5 Jr- Thomas Gardner-Missouri, 21.6ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.1apg

6-7 Jr- Cartier Martin-Kansas St, 19.1ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.1apg

6-11 So-LaMarcus Aldrige-Texas, 16.4ppg, 9.3rpg, 38 blocks

6-2 So-Daniel Gibson-Texas, 14.9ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.1apg-should be higher

6-3 Jr-Jarrius Jackson-Texas Tech, 19.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.8apg, 43.8% 3-ptFG, 84%FT.


Big Monday games- Do you think ESPN likes Bobby Knight??

1/30- Texas Tech @ Kansas

2/6- Texas @ Texas Tech

2/13- Kansas @ Okie St.

2/20- Oklahoma @ Texas Tech

2/27- Okl. St @ Oklahoma

Seems like all of these games might be elimination games for the big dance.




Rankings as of 1/24/06

1)     Texas (5-0) (1/28@Oklahoma)-Texas has held its last 8 opponents to 40%FG shooting and under. This week might be only test rest of the way. Freshman PG AJ Abrams has 20 assists to 2 turnovers in conference play.

2)     Colorado (3-2) (1/25 Nebr, 1/28 Kansas St)- With already two road victories, the latest being at Okie St where they hadn't won since 1980, the Buffs are in the drivers seat with two homes games against North foes.

3)     Oklahoma (2-2) (1/25@Baylor, 1/28 Texas)- OU held Tech to 12points, fewest in a half by a Kelvin Sampson OU team. Bookout & Gray have yet to really take over games. Can they pin the Longhorns with their first conference loss? If shot the 3  well they will. Have +12.7 rebounding margin for the year.

4)      Texas A&M (2-3) (1/25 Kansas, 1/28 Baylor)- After winning for the first time on the road in conference play, the Aggies now need to carry that over to home court. Many reserves stepping up at the right time.

5)     Kansas St. (3-2) (1/28@Colorado)- The Wildcats have beaten the Tigers three consecutive games, something they hadn't done since 73-4, 74-5 seasons. Can Martin and Hoskins carry this team without a center?

6)     Missouri (3-2) (1/25 Iowa St., 1/28 @Nebraska)- The Tigers are 10-10 vs. Iowa State since inception of the Big 12. Thomas Gardner went 1-8 in three's last week,…watch out Clone fans.

7)     Oklahoma State (2-3) (1/28 @Texas Tech)- The Cowboys JR Torre Johnson going into Big Mondays game vs Texas, he had shot 60% or better in each of last five games, Monday was 3 of 6, 6 points after averaging 13.

8)     Kansas (2-2) (1/25 @Texas A&M, 1/28@Iowa State)- This is make or break week for the young Jayhawks. They have held five of their last seven opponents to under 60 points scoring and they shot better than 50% in six of eight. Kansas has held every opponent to 47% and under for the year in FG%.

9)     Texas Tech (2-3) (1/28 Okie St)- JR Jarrius Jackson has lead the Red Raiders in scoring 12 of last 14 games. Need more than a one two punch to survive the cellar of the conference.

10) Iowa State (2-3) (1/25@Missouri, 1/28 Kansas)- The Cyclones have let two games slip away but have won five of their last seven road games dating back to last season for conference play. Previously in the three seasons before they were 0-8 each year. If this team has any shot at the NCAA's they can not lose this week and need to get on a roll!

11) Nebraska (2-2) (1/25@Colorado, 1/28 Missouri)- Boy what a difference a week makes. Going from the top to the bottom can happen fast when the players are not on the same page as the coach. The Tiger game could mean Collier's job if they lose.

12) Baylor (0-4) (1/25 Oklahoma, 1/28@Texas A&M)-

       The Bears JR Patrick Fields was 5 of 6 from three point range last weekend and scored 20 points in loss against Texas. In the previous three games he had 5 total points.


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