Top-50 Team Countdown: #36.Iowa State Cyclones
36.Iowa State Cyclones
The Cyclones come off a season where they finished last in the Big 12, however, they have all the pieces in place to make it back to the NCAA Tournament. The Cyclones return four likely starters, while they add a good recruiting class and some likely impact transfers. With some of their young players getting a chance to develop last season and the incoming talent they have coming in this team should be able to make it back to the NCAA Tournament this season.
The Cyclones are going to look for Lindell Wiggington to put up big numbers in his sophomore season, as a freshman he was fifth in the Big 12 in scoring. He should only get better this season, as he should become a more efficient shooter. Nick Weiler-Babb will play alongside Wiggington, likely bringing up the ball this season and leading the team in assists. The Cyclones also add in Marial Shayok, a transfer from Virginia, he should bring in some defensive intensity, while being a consistent scorer. Freshman Talen Horton-Tucker should get lots of minutes as a freshman this season, while likely providing a spark as the teams sixth man. Zion Griffin adds another big guard, who should be able to help make a difference as a freshman.
The Cyclones will have two great interior players inside this season with Soloman Young and Cameron Lard, both of whom do different things. Young is more of a rim-runner, who is physical up front and can grab a lot of rebounds. Meanwhile, Lard is more of a back to the basket big, who can score on the block and rebound at a high rate. One of those two will be on the court at all times this season as both bring a lot of different elements to help them win games. The Cyclones also have Zoran Talley Jr. a senior who can help stretch the floor with his ability to knock down shots. Nebraska transfer Michael Jacobsen is an experienced player, who should help provide some minutes this season for the Cyclones.
Other than in the Maui Invitational, the Cyclones really don’t have a strong non-conference schedule but playing in the Big 12 should provide them with enough opportunities to pick up quality wins. The Cyclones will play Missouri at home early on before heading to the Maui Invitational, a field that includes Duke, Auburn, and Gonzaga. The Cyclones play at Iowa and at Drake in non-conference play but those are the only other road games for Iowa State. The Cyclones open Big 12 play on January 2nd at Oklahoma State and will end the season at home against Texas Tech on March 9th. The Cyclones will also play at Mississippi on January 26th in the SEC/ Big 12 Challenge. The Big 12 Tournament runs March 13th-16th, with the NCAA Tournament beginning on March 19th if the Cyclones make it there.
What to expect this season
The Cyclones should be back in the NCAA Tournament this season, as this team is filled with high-end talent. Look for Lindell Wiggington to put up big numbers this season, while earning All-Big 12 honors. This team should probably go around 9-9 in league play, which isn’t great but will get them into the NCAA Tournament. With this amount of talent and experience don’t be surprised if the Cyclones maybe surprise in the NCAA Tournament by making a possible Sweet 16 run.
PG: Nick Weiler-Babb
SG: Lindell Wiggington
SF: Marial Shayok
PF: Soloman Young
C: Cameron Lard
Key Reserves: Talen Horton-Tucker, Zion Griffin, Zoran Talley Jr, Michael Jacobsen
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