Here it is, the first week of February and its time for teams to step up and prove their worthiness or crumble like a dried chocolate chip cookie. Can the Cyclones put together one of their February surges to draw them closer to make a case for the Big Dance? If they played like they did last Sunday against the Buffs with tough defense and tenacity on the boards they can.
It starts Wednesday at
the Kansas St. Wildcats where Cartier Martin will look to improve on scoring
only eight points in a loss last Saturday to Oklahoma St which has sent the Wildcats in
a tailspin. They will also have to play without their coach as Jim Woolridge is
undergoing surgery to relieve some discomfort in his neck.
St. is still 3rd in
conference play in scoring defense only allowing 64.5ppg (ISU is
12th-77.1ppg), but the Cyclones lead the Big 12 in conference play
scoring 79.4ppg. Someone will have to give. Bad thing is Kansas St is
2nd in the conference in FG% defense allowing .380% shooting while
ISU is dead last at .498%. It may be a battle of 3-point shooting as the
Wildcats again are strong on the defense and even shoot .388%. Iowa State shooting .370%
from three but is 9th in 3 pt FG% defense allowing .397%. Maybe
that's why my stomach churns every time I see a three go
After a game in Manhattan the Cyclones will come back to the land of OZ on Saturday to face the hottest team in
the league, the Kansas Jayhawks. The Clones will look to avenge a loss at Hilton
a little over a week ago. Not many people outside Jayhawk land would've thought
this KU team might finish better in the conference that last year's team with
Miles, Simeon, Lankford and Giddens. Kansas has not finished below 5th
since the Big 12 was formed and they have not finished below .500 in conference
play since 1989, the last year they missed the NCAA
One thing is for sure at Allen
Fieldhouse in the Big 12, when a South team comes to play, they will leave with
an L. So far Kansas is 29-0, that's right 29-0 vs the South division teams since
the start of Big 12 play and should run it to 30-0 as Baylor comes to Allen
later this month. The key stat against OU last weekend, Taj Gray and Kevin Bookout were a combined 1-2 from the free throw line. The Sooners were only six
of seven for the entire game. That's home cooking.
What about the North teams you
say, well ISU fans we can pump our chests as in Big 12 play the Cyclones have
won three times, Missouri, Nebraska and this year Kansas State have one each. Oh
get this; KU was only 2-12 on 3's last week with Chalmers and Robinson going
0-5. You think that will happen this week when ISU comes to town?Yeah me neither!! Oh well, go
Cheer for the Hawkeyes.
Yes, you heard me. Right now in
looking at the schedule, winning over the Iowa Hawkeyes was the biggest win of
the year. Now in football its still ok to cheer for whoever plays Iowa because in beating
them and they turning around and losing games doesn't affect our RPI because
there isn't one. The Hawks (18-5) and UNI (20-4) both lead their respective
conferences. Only one other ISU win over another team has that team in first
place and that is Northwestern
St (15-6, 8-1) of the Southland Conference. All
together, in ISU's non-conference wins, those teams' records are 100-96 which is
The worst lost obviously is
FresnoState (11-10) who again lost last night to Idaho who is 4-16. How
did we lose that won at home??!!! Iona (16-5,
10-3) is still on top of the MAAC despite losing a game this
By comparison when you are RPI
watching like I do, you look at a couple teams similar to yours. I see
Indiana (13-6) and Wisconsin (15-7) being
teams on the bubble. Indiana's non-conference wins have those
teams' records being 66-80, 46%. Their bad loss was at IndianaState (9-12). Wisconsin's
non-conference wins are slightly stronger with those teams going 93-84 for 53%.
But they have lost to WakeForest (12-10), Purdue (8-13) and the
shocker, at home to North
DakotaState (13-10) who is moving from Div II to
Div I. The Hawks play at Indiana this Saturday. Go
Ranking as of 2-7-06
1)Texas (8-1)-(2/11-Nebr) PJ Tucker got
his 9th double-double of the year last night, which is 2nd
in the Big 12. Rick Barnes's Longhorns are 63-5 vs. in state
2)Kansas (6-2)-(2/8@Nebr., 2/11-ISU)- KU's 23-5
run against the Sooners in the last have made everyone believers. Do not see them
finishing less than third in the conference as they've held their last five
opponents to under 40% FG shooting.
3)Oklahoma (5-3)-(2/8@OSU, 2/11-Baylor)- SR Kevin
Bookout became the 34th player in school history to score 1,000
points. OU's Big 12 losses have been by a combined four points. Will be an upset
if lose at OSU but won't be surprised.
4)Colorado (5-3)-(2/8@A&M, 2/11-Tech)- The
Buffs have won 8 of 10 meeting vs the Aggies. Richard Roby had been averaging
21ppg but was held to just 10 in a loss at IowaState last Sunday. Don't see them losing
this spot this week.
5)IowaState (4-4)-(2/8@KSU, 2/11@KU)- Must win
road games this week for the Cyclones. Curtis Stinson is averaging 25.8ppg over
last five. Play better with their backs against the wall and its
6) Nebraska (5-3)-(2/8-KU,
they split this week, will move them back to fifth. Huskers have done a great
job since losing McCray. NU's 5 wins at the beginning of the conference season
matches best start since 1999.
7) Texas A&M (3-6)-(2/8-Col,
since the worst week is over, Aggies can show if they want to stay in the race
or not with two home games. In 51 games under Billy Gillispie the Aggies have
allowed only five teams to shoot better than 48%.
8) OklahomaState (3-5)-(2/8 OU,
I'm stretching with the Cowboys because I feel that an Eddie Sutton coached team
can't finish worse than 8th, can they? Soph Marcus Dove returned from
a hip injury that has sidelined him since December 22nd. He started
and had 4 points, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals. OSU have won three of last
five vs Sooners.
9) Texas Tech (4-5)-(2/11@Col)- Against the top teams the Red
Raiders have not faired well, too bad Bobby Knight. Attendance still remains
around 7800 in a 15,000 seat arena. Cyclones shouldn't have lost to this
10) KansasState- (3-5)-(2/8-ISU,
2/12@MU)- six of
seven Wildcat losses this season have been by five points or less. Cartier
Martin has had 20 points or more in ten games this year. If Wildcats want to
finish in top half of the conference they must win both games this
else going to be cheering for the Bears tonight?! Trouble in paradise as Thomas Gardner who was averaging over 20ppg in conference play only scored 2 last
Saturday as Synder kept him out most of the game.
12) Baylor- (1-7)-(2/7-Missu,
for the Bears!! They won for the first time in twenty games over KSU last week.
Under Scott Drew the Bears are 3-0 in overtime games.
Heard on Wayne Morgan's show last
night that incoming recruit Cory Johnson from Minnesota broke his schools scoring record
once held by former Golden Gopher Rick Rickerts. Strange thing is Rick Rickerts
had broken Cory's father's record, which had broken Rick Rickerts father's
record. Wonder if they have sons either would move back to keep the tradition
Juco watch. I've been keeping tabs
on a speedy point guard from Indian Hills in Ottumwa. Jamaal Smith is a 5'10" lightening
quick guard who is having one hell of a season for the Warriors. His Indian
Hills team is 21-3 and last weekend beat Southeastern for the first time in four
years. He lead all scorers, which he has done many times this year, with 26
points connecting on four three pointers but also 10-12 from the free throw
line. On the year Smith has made 75 three point baskets, a little over three per
game. He has made six three point baskets in a couple games this year. He is
also and excellent free throw shooting connecting on over 82%.