(Editor's Note: For those of you that have been following along every day, sincere apologies for my three-day hiatus. I had to run out of town at the last moment. )
The Iowa State Cyclones are one of two Big 12 teams opening the season with a new head coach. After Fred Hoiberg left the program to become the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, Iowa State hired Steve Prohm from Murray State. Prohm's track record is nothing short of impressive. In four seasons at Murray State, he won 104 games, including a 31-win season in 2012 in which the Racers advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Prohm will inherit a talented Iowa State team looking to make a run at the Big 12 Championship.
Games 19 & 27: Iowa State Cyclones
Date: Saturday, January 23
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena - Fort Worth, TX
Date: Saturday, February 20
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Hilton Coliseum - Ames, IA
Know the Foe
SB Nation: Wide Right & Natty Light
Big 12 Preseason Ranking: 3rd
Location: Ames, IA
Head Coach: Steve Prohm
2014-2015 Record: 25-9 (12-6, 2nd)
Postseason: NCAA Second Round
Key Losses: G Bryce Dejean-Jones, F Dustin Hogue
Key Returners: F Georges Niang, G Monte Morris, F Jameel McKay
New Additions: G Simeon Carter, F Brady Ernst
As was mentioned previously, Steve Prohm is inheriting a very talented group of Cyclones this season. Iowa State was one of the only schools in the nation to have each of its five starters average in double-figures in scoring. Four of those five starters will return, bringing with them a huge chunk of ISU's scoring output from a year ago. The Cyclones will be led this season by Georges Niang. Back for his senior season, Niang is one of the most prolific players in the country. He did it all for ISU last year, averaging 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. If he continues to improve, Niang has an outside shot to compete for player of the year awards. Monte Morris also returns for Iowa State. He led the team in assists last year with 5.2 per game, while also dropping in 11.9 points per game. Morris was lethal from the field, finishing the season with a 50.7% shooting percentage. Jameel McKay and Naz Long are the other two double-digit scoring returners, having dropped in 11.0 and 10.1 points per game respectively.
While Prohm will oversee a very talented group of returners, things weren't exactly easy on the recruiting trail. After four-star guard Nick Noskowiak signed his letter of intent to play at Iowa State, he was suspended from the team and eventually left the program. His departure leaves ISU with a relatively thin high school recruiting class. Simeon Carter comes to Ames after a solid career at West Charlotte High School in North Carolina. Carter averaged 14.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 4.0 blocks per game during his high school campaign. With Carter highlighting the incoming freshmen, Prohm turned to a handful of transfers to bridge the gap. Jordan Ashton joins the Cyclones out of Kirkwood Community College, where he averaged 16.4 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Deonte Burton will be eligible to play next semester after transferring to Marquette last winter. At Marquette, Burton averaged 6.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.
Recruiting aside, the Cyclones will likely be one of the top teams in the conference this season. With the majority of an offense that finished 14th in the country in scoring with 78.4 points per game returning, Iowa State will being a high-powered scoring attack to a conference that thrives on defense.
Last Time Around
01/31/15: Iowa State 83 vs. TCU 66
TCU falls to 1-7 in Big 12 play following the loss in Ames this afternoon.
03/07/15: Iowa State 89 at TCU 76
The Frogs put together a decent offensive performance against the Cyclones, but were simply unable to do anything to slow ISU in the second half.
Iowa State 70, TCU 60
Make no mistake, the TCU defense looks to be an impressive unit this season. However, Iowa State's offense could finish as one of the best in the country. The pressure will be on the TCU defense to limit the Cyclones' scoring attack to keep this one within reach.
Iowa State 77, TCU 61
The ISU offense presents a series of problems for opposing defenses. Playing on the road further complicates those problems. With TCU's road struggles in Big 12 play paired with Iowa State's talented scorers, this game features a mismatch that benefits the Cyclones.
Opponent Team Previews:
Game 1: Southeastern Louisiana
Game 2: Houston Baptist
Game 3: South Dakota State
Game 4: Rhode Island
Game 5: Maryland /Illinois State
Game 6: SMU
Game 7: Colgate
Game 8: Washington
Game 9: Prairie View A&M
Game 10: Abilene Christian
Game 11: Bradley
Game 12: Delaware State
Games 13 & 24: Oklahoma State
Games 14 & 25: West Virginia
Games 15 & 20: Texas
Games 16 & 29: Baylor
Games 17 & 23: Kansas
Games 18 & 28: Texas Tech
Games 19 & 27: Iowa State
Game 21: Tennessee (11/3)
Games 22 & 31: Oklahoma (11/4)
Games 26 & 30: Kansas State (11/5)