Fifth? Ok, let’s get to work.

Hoiberg, Fred_2014-15_MeetTheCoaches_

Big 12 men’s basketball coaches Tubby Smith, Bruce Weber, Scott Drew, Bob Huggins, Trent Johnson, Bill Self, Travis Ford, Lon Kruger, Fred Hoiberg and Rick Barnes have combined to win 3,926 games as college coaches.

That’s a whole lot of hoops wisdom.

Those 10 men – through independent projections – picked Hoiberg’s 2014-15 Cyclones to finish fifth in the upcoming Big 12 standings.

The collective wisdom of those coaches and their assessment that ISU will barely make the first division of this winter’s league race underlines the challenge the challenge that Hoiberg faces in replacing Melvin Ejim (17.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and DeAndre Kane (17.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 5.9 apg).

For those choosing to question Hoiberg’s ability to rebuild on the fly, consider the senior departures he has dealt with in prior seasons:

  • 2011: Diante Garrett (17.3 ppg), Jake Anderson (12.8) and Jamie Vanderbeken (11.1)
  • 2012: Royce White (13.4 ppg), Scott Christopherson (12.6) and Chris Allen (12.2)
  • 2013: Will Clyburn (14.9), Tyrus McGee (13.1) and Korey Lucious (10.1)

Hoiberg rebuilt each time with returnees assuming bigger roles or transfer players getting their shots.

To some, the fifth-place guess seems to be cause for anger.

Rather than be upset, I’ll rely on the competitive nature and skill set of the players that ISU will have on its roster this season.

And, of course, the steady hand of Hoiberg directing the action.

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