The atmosphere in Allen Fieldhouse was revved up.
Multiple signs – standard fare for hotly contested games – referencing Hilton Magic or the Cyclones were spread throughout the student section.
The pre-game comments from the Kansas camp focused heavily on payback for ISU’s win in Ames.
Those were all indicators of what transpired in Lawrence last night. Despite a loss, Iowa State’s basketball rivalry with Kansas ignited and that’s a good thing.
You can’t talk your way into being taken seriously. Performance dictates respect. Two Cyclone wins in a row against KU had gotten the Jayhawks’ attention.
“It’s a fun team to compete against,” Kansas Coach Bill Self said. “I think us and Iowa State have developed a pretty nice rivalry.”
The rivalry had been brewing the last couple of seasons. Close and tough losses, however, kept the “rivalry” discussion largely under wraps. That’s no longer the case.
“I think they (our guys) were focused to play up there and they (the Cyclones) were just better than us,” Self said of the season’s first game between the schools. “I’m sure they (ISU) were focused to play tonight but we were better.”
Late in the game, ESPN announcers Brent Musburger and Fran Fraschilla talked about the rivalry and noted that most people would feel Kansas State and Kansas would be the heated adversaries because of their proximity. Musburger, however, noted the one-sided nature of that series and suggested that Iowa State-Kansas has become the league’s marquee match-up.
Monday’s result was, rightfully, frustrating to the ISU contingent. But, Hoiberg and his men have sparked a rivalry and there’s always the possibility of another game down the road.