From the Balcony

As he does every week, Mark Hersom breaks down the Big 12 conference. Enjoy commentary like this that you will only find at Cyclone Nation.

I heard the trumpet player warming up Saturday to play taps after the Kansas defeat which was not only by the score but by the composure of the Cyclones as well.


We all know the history at Allen Fieldhouse and this year was no different. Jayhawk fans wanted to stick it to these Cyclones as the last two years games have been nail bitters with more veteran leadership on the KU side of the ball. But these young Jayhawks are poised, athletic and talented. Last year Miles, Simeon and Langford finished 12-4 in the Big 12 and these Jayhawks will do the same if not better. The biggest threat to the Jayhawks right now is them. With expectations on the rise, can they take on Texas and over take them for the conference? We shall see as they match-up in Austin on February 25th.


For Iowa State fans, we are living in the year of the what-ifs. This is not what Cyclone fans were expecting out of this team since we experienced this depression during the football season. Fresno St, Ohio St., @Texas Tech, Texas A&M and @Kansas St are losses that shouldn't have happened and instead of heartache, we'd be singing praises like "no worries, …about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing, is going to be alright." 

Well, even Bob Marley would change his tune by seeing the wheels grinding to a screeching halt after Saturday's loss. Hell, it actually came to a halt in Manhattan where no thanks to Akeem Wright and the Wildcats living up to their bargain by giving Missu fans something to cheer about, oh and Baylor fans as well. Good job!


Here it is Cyclone fans, the season summed up in the last two games: ISU free throws 5-16 with Stinson going 1-6. Opponents, 45-57, that's right 40 more points from the line. ISU fouls 48 while opponents whistled for…30

ISU opponents have blocked 13 shots while the Cyclones……..? O….O enough said


Other teams are taking it right at the defense and making the officials call fouls and getting themselves to the line where the Cyclones once led the conference in FT% has slipped away this past week. Far too many fast break three point attempts with no rebounders under the basket has dealt a blow to the Cyclones as when it appears they are going to open up a large lead on some teams, they play themselves back into a dogfight. Other teams know we don't have a shot blocker!


Now I'm not saying that Morgan goes into a stall much like Tim and Larry did when they had small leads, but when you're up by 6 or 8 points especially in the second half, you need to take more time off the clock than 10 seconds. This team is as fast as any in the NCAA but they need to understand that you can not always make fast break points with a three. Taking it strong to the glass is what separates most teams this late in the season. Johnny Orr's 1980's teams did not have the three to worry about and even players like Ron Virgil and Tom Peterson found a way to draw the foul and get to the line.


I hope these Cyclones go out and win the next six games and prove me wrong, that they don't belong in the NCAA tournament and I don't even want to talk about it unless they do. Just like football, too many fans are waiting for that moment when the clock reads 0:00 and Coach Mac is getting doused with water as they hoist up the trophy……………………………….the CY-Hawk?, NO! the Big 12 North one. Till then, hello NIT vs. Xavier.

In case you're interested in knowing our chances to making the Big Dance, it's of course up to these Cyclones. But, there are plenty of other teams that as faltering down the stretch as well. So if you keep score watching like I do, you know we put ourselves through misery as a Cyclone fan knows, there's always hope.

Teams also on the bubble Indiana(13-8), Miami(Fla)(14-10), Maryland(15-8), Florida St(15-6), Virginia(12-9), Temple(12-9), Charlotte(14-8), Xavier(14-6), Seton Hall(15-7), L'ville(15-8), Marquette(16-8), Cincy(16-9), UTEP(15-6), UAB(17-5), Houston(16-6), Air Force(19-5), Nevada(18-5), LA Tech(15-9), Utah St(16-6), Stanford(12-9), Arizona(15-9), USC(15-9), Georgia(14-9), Vandy(13-8), S. Carolina(13-10), Alabama(14-8), Arkansas(16-7), and two teams from the Missouri Valley. As you see, many perennial powers are in the same boat we are. Hope we float.


Rankings as of 2/13/06


1) Texas (9-1)(2/14-Baylor, 2/19-OSU)- What can you say, toughest test vs KU?


2) Kansas (8-2)(2/13@Okie St, 2/18Missu)- Another game, another team held below 50%FG as they swept the Cyclones. Do you think KU cares that Quinn is gone? and be merciful against the Tigers? What's going to happen first, Missu score 40 or be down by 40?

3) Oklahoma (7-3)(2/15@Colorado, 2/18-ISU)- If Sooners want to avoid a semi final match up with Texas, they need to keep the Buffs back off their heels.

4) Colorado (6-4)(2/15-OU, 2/18@Kansas St.)- If the Buffaloes win two this week then they most likely will lock up #4 seed.

Top four seeds get first round bye

5) Nebraska (5-5)(2/15@ISU, 2/18-Tech)- Seems like all coaches who were on the hot seat missed games this past week and their teams won. Ala Kansas St vs Iowa St and Missouri vs Kansas St. Will Collier miss the Cyclone game?

6) Texas A&M (5-6)(2/18@Baylor)- Slowly but surely sneaking up into the middle of the pack after rough week two weeks ago. Loss to Baylor puts them back to the drawing board.

7) Texas Tech (4-6)(2/15-KSU, 2/18@Nebr., 2/20-OU Big Monday)- even though three way tie with KState and ISU, get the nod as beat the Cyclones and playing host to the Wildcats. Just when you thought the General was dead.

8) Kansas State (4-6)(2/15@Tech, 2/18-Col)- Jim Woolridge's neck was feeling really good last Wednesday, but sore again on Sunday. If the Wildcats have any shot at post season, they need two wins this week.


9) Iowa State (4-6)(2/15-Nebraska, 2/18@OU)- I knew I put the jinx on the Cyclones when I had them 5th last week. Sorry Coach Morgan, I won't do that again.


10) Missouri (4-7)(2/18@KU)- Tiger fans overjoyed!? With what, the win Sunday or Quinn's departure? I heard on AM810 out of Kansas City a few weeks ago who had Rick Majerus on and he said he loves Hardee's and they still have them in Kansas City. Wonder if there's one in Columbia?

11) Oklahoma State (3-7)(2/13-KU, 2/19-Texas)- Here's the good news Coach Sutton, (Sean) on your first week as head coach. You have two homes games this week. The bad news, ……you don't want to know.

12) Baylor (2-8)(2/14@Texas, 2/18-Texas A&M)- Does every other Cyclone fan worry that the Bears last win will be on Feb 25th? Check your schedule.


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