Big Monday meant big publicity for Cyclone Athletics and Fred Hoiberg’s program in particular.

Brent

The “Big Monday” series on ESPN is a great showcase for all of the institutions and basketball programs that get to participate. This week’s game vs. Kansas was the Cyclones’ first appearance in six seasons.

Although the game result wasn’t as desired, consider the national publicity Iowa State received for a couple of hours on television. Here are some in-game comments from Brent Musburger, the veteran ESPN sportscaster:

 

“If you have not seen a game in this building – it has become, as Coach Fred Hoiberg has brought the Cyclones back to relevance – one of the best settings in all of college basketball.”

“This is a great crowd in here tonight. I’ve heard so much about it (Hilton Coliseum). All across America, one of the beauties of college basketball is when you get to come to these small (university) towns and see how they support their basketball teams. It’s a part of Americana.”

“(Hoiberg), the Ames, Iowa, legend has led a remarkable turnaround. He took them to the NCAA Tournament a year ago and they’re headed there again.”

“This setting is as good as advertised. It’s hard to get a good seat here. (There’s) 14,376 and we’ve got standing room tonight. Folks, that’s Paul Rhoads. He’s the football coach and it’s tough for him to get down near center court. That’s how tough the ticket is here in Ames.”

Musburger and color analyst Fran Fraschilla shared this exchange:  “This building is as good as you told me,” Musburger said to Fraschilla, who replied “it’s one of my favorite places to come. Nice is in the DNA of the people of Ames.”

One of Musburger’s closing lines was: “I’ll make a prediction. Big Monday will be back in Ames next year!”

We’ll be ready, Brent, for the return engagement.

Signed,
Cyclone Nation

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

 

The three-point shooting Cyclones also lead the Big 12 in percentage made from two.

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You’ve no doubt read the one-paragraph scouting report on teams which make the NCAA Tournament each year. The Iowa State summary could read something like this:

All five players handle and shoot the ball well. Love to shoot the 3 and make a lot of them. Rebound well despite being outsized most nights. A high-octane offense – based upon great spacing – is the foundation for Hoiberg’s versatile collection of shooters. Super-sub McGee is one of the NCAA’s best long-range bombers.

Everyone recognizes the Cyclones’ dependence upon the three-point shot.

But, did you know that Iowa State is also the only team in the Big 12 which has made more than half of its two-point field goal attempts?

ISU has connected on 50.6% of shots inside the arc. K-State (.496), Texas (.491), Kansas (.487), Oklahoma (.485), Oklahoma State (.478) and Baylor (.463) are the other schools making more than 45 percent on 2’s. Other than the Longhorns, those schools are positioned for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Because the Cyclones spread the court so well, good ball movement leads to open three-point attempts or strong cuts the basket. That’s a lethal combination.

Perhaps, the one-paragraph summary needs to be edited. It might be appropriate to add a line saying the combination of a terrific perimeter attack with an efficient inside and mid-range game makes the Cyclones one tough unit to defend.

That’s a more accurate assessment than just saying the Cyclones shoot 3’s. They do both and do them quite effectively.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Cyclones delivered on Big Monday in almost every way possible

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That was too good of a game to end that way.

Everyone talked about Iowa State’s opportunity to showcase its university, its athletics program, its men’s basketball team and Coach Fred Hoiberg’s high-octane offense on ESPN’s Big Monday telecast.

The question discussed beforehand was whether the Cyclones were ready for the prime time.

Yes, was the answer, and in a resounding way.

A national TV audience joined the 14,376 fans jammed into Hilton to watch one of the best games of the college basketball season. It was a game filled with big-time plays.

The Cyclones made 17 three pointers, a school record. Two players had career scoring highs and the freshman center had seven assists and no turnovers. The Cyclones made 29 of 34 free throws and suffered just eight turnovers in 45 minutes.

Kansas answered with 39 points from a guard, who entered the game shooting 38% from the field, 31% from 3 and 63% from the line while averaging single-digit points.

There were debatable calls down the stretch. One, in particular, will be discussed in these parts for a long time.

In the end, it was a heart-breaking loss.

What ISU can do is hold its head high knowing it showcased an unbelievable atmosphere and program. The nation was watching and, ultimately, discussing the results deep into last night.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Cyclones delivered on Big Monday in almost every area

Mcgee_tyrus_5_2012-13

That was too good of a game to end that way.

Everyone talked about Iowa State’s opportunity to showcase its university, its athletics program, its men’s basketball team and Coach Fred Hoiberg’s high-octane offense on ESPN’s Big Monday telecast.

The question discussed beforehand was whether the Cyclones were ready for the prime time.

Yes, was the answer, and in a resounding way.

A national TV audience joined the 14,376 fans jammed into Hilton to watch one of the best games of the college basketball season. It was a game filled with big-time plays.

The Cyclones made 17 three pointers, a school record. Two players had career scoring highs and the freshman center had seven assists and no turnovers. The Cyclones made 29 of 34 free throws and suffered just eight turnovers in 45 minutes.

Kansas answered with 39 points from a guard, who entered the game shooting 38% from the field, 31% from 3 and 63% from the line while averaging single-digit points.

There were debatable calls down the stretch. One, in particular, will be discussed in these parts for a long time.

In the end, it was a heart-breaking loss.

What ISU can do is hold its head high knowing it showcased an unbelievable atmosphere and program. The nation was watching and, ultimately, discussing the results deep into last night.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Hype machine cranked up for Big Monday match-up

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The sixth question at Fred Hoiberg’s Saturday news conference was “What about Kansas, Fred?” The first five inquiries were related to the Cyclones’ just-completed 20-point victory over Texas Tech and the last three were about Iowa State’s showdown tonight with KU.

Normally, coaches like to say there’s a 24-hour rule to celebrate before focus on the next opponent begins. That rule was likely ignored this time.

Certainly, a Saturday-Monday turn-around means there isn’t much time to reflect. But, the hype machine for KU-ISU was turned up quickly anyway.

The Jayhawks bring a Top Ten national ranking to Hilton Coliseum, where ISU has the nation’s third-longest active win streak. The first game between the schools this winter was a tight tussle ending in overtime. ESPN’s Big Monday crew will call the game meaning Brent Musburger and Fran Fraschilla will be courtside. Plus, two teams are trying to add to their NCAA Tournament resumes.

You can try and shield yourself from the commotion or you can enthusiastically embrace it.

“We’re excited about the challenge and a great opportunity for our guys to play on Big Monday,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I know I enjoyed playing on Big Monday.”

It’s not a make-or-break game for the season. But, much of the nation will be watching.

One thing is likely. There will be more questions about the game just played this time at Hoiberg’s news conference than a look ahead at the next encounter.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

No school has ever led the Big 12 in 3-point attempts and FG% in the same year. The Cyclones are positioned to.

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Iowa State leads the Big 12 in free throw (.750) and field goal (.455) percentage and is second from three-point territory (.382). What’s amazing about the FG% mark is that Iowa State has attempted 84 more three-point shots than any of its league peers.

Usually, the best FG percentage belongs to a club with an inside presence and lots of shots close to the basket.

No school in Big 12 history has led the conference in FG% and three-point attempts in the same season. The closest to do so were the Cyclones last year (finishing fourth in percentage). In fact, the team with the most attempts from three has finished 10th or worst in overall shooting percentage 10 times in 16 seasons.

The Cyclones are averaging 10.08 three-point makes per game in Big 12 play. ISU has reached double figure three-pointers made in nine league games this winter. The rest of the league has combined to make at least 10 three pointers in a conference game just eight times.

You read that right. Oklahoma State has done it three times, West Virginia and Kansas State twice each and Baylor once. Neither Kansas nor Oklahoma nor Texas no TCU nor Texas Tech has reached double figures for 3’s in a game even once in league play.

Hoiberg gives the green light to the Cyclones to shoot three pointers. And, they’re making more of them than any school in the nation this year.

As fans, it is an offensive style that’s entertaining to watch. To college basketball prospects, I can’t imagine a more enticing program to join if you’re a shooter.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Lucious hopes to follow a similar script to that of his former Spartan teammate Allen

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At a similar point in the 2012 men’s basketball season, the Cyclones turned it on and closed with a flurry. The club won four of its final five regular season games to make the national tourney and then posted a big win over defending NCAA Champion UConn in the post-season.

Part of the reason was the inspired play of Michigan State transfer Chris Allen. He registered double figure points in the wins vs. Oklahoma (16 with four steals), Texas Tech (12), Kansas State (10), Baylor (11 with five assists) and UConn (20) during that stretch.

Fred Hoiberg is looking for another Spartan transfer for some leadership right now. Point guard Korie Lucious, a former teammate of Allen, has similar experience from MSU to draw upon.

“He’s been there,” Hoiberg said of Lucious Monday. “He’s played in huge games throughout the course of his career, similar to Chris Allen a year ago. (Chris) had some big games down the stretch and against Connecticut in the tournament.”

Lucious has been the engine for the Cyclones all season. Last night at Baylor, Lucious scored 16 points and directed a huge win.

“When Korie makes simple plays, his assist numbers go up and good things tend to happen,” Hoiberg said again this week. “Korie is a guy that’s been to where we want to be. He is a seasoned vet, so we lean on him a lot.”

Some people flinch in the big moment. Both Lucious and Allen faced pressure earlier in their careers and gained experience from it.

With the closing stretch of the season at hand, there is certainly an opportunity for the MSU connection at Iowa State to pay some dividends again.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Hoiberg’s lineup versatility is reminiscent of the “Who’s on first?” skit from the 1940s

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In the 1940s, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello became famous for performing their “Who’s on first? What’s on second? And I don’t know who’s on third” baseball skit.

Eight Iowa State men’s basketball players have started games this winter and nine are averaging double figure minutes per appearance. Where they show up on the floor, however, is anyone’s guess.

Will Clyburn, the team’s leading scorer is the 3 (or small forward)… except for when he’s playing the 1 (point guard) or 2 (shooting guard) or 4 (power forward).

Melvin Ejim, the Big 12’s leading rebounder, is the 4… except for when he’s playing the 5 or 3.

Chris Babb, who relentlessly guards the foe’s best scorer no matter the size, is the 2 (at least on offense)… except for when he’s playing the 3.

Georges Niang, the 6-7 freshman, has started throughout the league season as the 5 (center) and been incredibly productive at using his overall game to frustrate larger foes guarding him. True to Cyclone form, Niang can also play the 4.

Korey Lucious is the 1, almost all of the time. But, the return of Bubu Palo in the second semester paved the way for a Lucious / Palo backcourt and Lucious seems to play the role of shooter as a 2.

“We’re a versatile group,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said. “All of our guys can handle the ball and make plays.”

It’s probably safe to assume that Hoiberg doesn’t spend much time deciding what positional label to put on his guys. If he did, it could be quite the routine.

[If you’ve never seen the Abbott and Costello skit, it’s worth a look. Click here.]

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Defensive stopper or lethal long-range shooter? Right now, Babb is both and the Cyclones are benefitting.

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Chris Babb transferred to Iowa State in 2010 with a reputation for excellent range on his jump shot.

“Chris brings an unbelievable ability to shoot the basketball,” Coach Fred Hoiberg said at the time.

A Penn State website (linebacker-u.com) called him “a three-point shooting specialist”. It was appropriate acclaim as Babb departed the Nittany Lion program with the 11th-most three pointers in school history (91) in just two seasons.

As a junior at Iowa State, Babb took a lot of threes but made 32%. His prowess on defense, however, kept him on the court if shots weren’t falling. Some people felt, Hoiberg included, Babb should have been the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the year last season.

That defensive reputation carried into this year.

In Saturday’s win over TCU, Babb hit 3-of-6 three pointers, moving past 200 for his career. He has connected on a blistering 19 of his last 33 attempts (57.6%) over the last six games. There may not be a hotter shooter in the league than Babb.

When Babb’s shot didn’t go in as often as he was accustomed in 2012, he starred at the defensive end.

Now that his shooting performance is exceeding the excellent press clippings from three years ago, there aren’t many more valuable players (offensively and defensively) in the Big 12 than Chris Babb.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Cyclones show alot of heart on Valentine’s Day in Norman.

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“Valentine’s Day is about the heart,” Coach Bill Fennelly said last evening after his team won at Oklahoma. “And, our team showed some heart tonight.”

That comment was directed towards his entire team, whose heartfelt play fouled out four of the OU starters and led to 20 more free throw attempts than the home squad.

The strongest heartbeats belonged to Hallie Christofferson and Chelsea Poppens, who battled relentlessly inside. Christofferson netted a career-high 27 points (with 10 rebounds) and Poppens added 19 points (with eight caroms).

Showing heart and playing passionately, however, is only part of the equation. You’ve got to engage your brain and make smart, simple plays too. Fennelly also got sound, intelligent play from his club.

Guards Nikki Moody, Brynn Williamson and Kidd Blaskowsky combined to play 104 minutes in a hostile environment. They combined for one turnover.

The combination of heart and heady play resulted in a road win over a ranked foe and pushed the Cyclones into second place in the league with five games remaining.

It was, indeed, a Happy Valentine’s Day in Norman for the Cyclones.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow