Local Flavor Adds Touch to Series

The infusion of young talent on both rosters is making this season's Iowa State-Iowa clash one of added significance and will play key roles when the programs face off for in-state bragging rights Friday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

True freshman starter Adam Haluska is making an immediate impact for the Cyclones, who are also relying heavily on Remsen-St. Mary's sophomore Jared Homan. First-year phenoms Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner have given Iowa a much-needed shot in the arm as well.

"A lot of guys have been staying in the state lately and there are going to be some great matchups out there between Iowa kids," said Haluska, a former standout at Carroll. "That's going to add to the excitement and crowd. I've played against all of those guys, so it's going to be a lot of fun."

Having been around numerous in-state rivalries throughout his coaching career, Eustachy knows what a game of this magnitude means to those within the borders.

"When I grew up in southern California I saw the USC-UCLA rivalry," he said. "I coached at Mississippi State and the Ole Miss rivalry is top five in the country. Probably the biggest was the Utah-BYU rivalry, which I was around while I was in Utah.

"When you have players from within the state, it becomes more intensified and I think it's great. There is a lot of pride, especially when you're from the state. That's just how it is. Iowa players in all of these games add flavor to it."

Haluska and Homan are the lone scholarship players from Iowa and although they're two of the youngest contributors one would expect they'd be making a concerted effort to express the importance of Friday's game.

JUCO transfers Jackson Vroman and Tim Barnes figure to be two of those on the receiving end.

"I don't think I have the full feeling for it yet and I don't think I will until I experience it," said Jackson Vroman of Utah's Snow Junior College. "I guess you can't really know what it's all about until you see it first-hand."

Always one to hold his team on an even keel, Eustachy likes to keep the annual in-state clash in perspective, however. After the Cyclones fell to Boston College 85-78 at Hilton Coliseum Tuesday night, the ISU coach says his team's next game is important for a number of different reasons.

"We need to play good opponents and particularly need to go on the road to find out even more where we're at," Eustachy said. "These are two good opponents with Boston College last night and now going to Iowa. It will be a good test for us.

"What hurt us last night was we'd played so many games and hadn't had the chance to be on the practice court. We only practiced one day on Monday and it was kind of rushed. We've been up and down, high and low in practice. That's why it happens in the game. Until we get consistency when we do practice, it will continue to show in the game. We have new faces and are going to need some time."

On the brink of opening the Big 12 slate with a killer stretch of games in January, Jake Sullivan said ISU's back-to-back matchups with Boston College and Iowa will act as a good barometer.

"You're going to learn a lot about yourself when you play another quality team after a game like that last night," he said. "If you win, you'll be on could nine afterwards. If not, we'll learn from it and move on to another game. It's a tough schedule in the Big 12, so we might as well get used to it now."

Eustachy's team heads into Friday's game as the underdogs against an Iowa team full of new faces. At least that's what the Cyclone coach believes.

"It's an opportunity to have a real upset on the road, but it's going to be very difficult," he said. "Both teams are in transition in the programs, so it's a little different that way. It has the same flare for me than it has anytime I've gone over there.

"We hear about how depleted they are, but we're just as depleted. You look at the players they have, (Glen) Worley, (Jared) Reiner, (Jeff) Horner, (Greg) Brunner, Brody Boyd and Chauncey Leslie. They put five top 50 players out of high school on the court. They've got some real talent out there."

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