Saturday, March 01, 2014

Too Much and Not Enough

The Cyclones have a certain offensive rhythm when they are successful, efficient, and winning. I can't put my finger on exactly how many passes it involves, but there is a sweet spot in their offense.

More than 10 baskets without an assist usually leads to offensive disaster and a loss. Fortunately, that has been a rare occurrence.  If Hoiberg is guilty of anything (and this is a minor quibble) is that his squad sometimes goes a pass too far when sharing the ball, which leads to a turnover. Nice problem to have.

That was evident early in their home win against West Virginia. Several possessions ended in a turnover when the extra pass was attempted, often inside and down low. After a time out the extra pass went away and shots went up. Score. The assists were earned, but the team stopped trying too hard.

Again- it's a good problem to have, but its interesting to watch it ebb and flow during the course of a game.

Bring Back Mirrored Schedules

I'm old enough to remember when the Big 8 basketball schedules mirrored opponents for the men's and women's teams, and each team would be home opposite weeks.

Back before TV completely blew up scheduling rhythm,  games were usually played on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons. The men might be on the road for two games while the women were at home for that week, then they would switch. The convenient part was that each would play the same opponent on the same day- If the men were in Stillwater, you knew the women were hosting the Cowgirls.

That symmetry gave the season a nice bit of predictability.

"Travel partners" only added to this. In the Big 8 days, OU and Okie State went on the road together, as did KU and Mizzou, K State and Colorado, and Nebraska with Iowa State. If you had a home game week, you would play OU on Wednesday and then OSU on Saturday.  When you traveled south, you swung through Norman and Stillwater in the same trip. With 14 games spread across 8 weeks, you then had a built in night off during the week that you played your travel partner. Symmetry.

These schedules arose in the days of trains and buses, when a trip from Ames to Oklahoma was a project. Now that every road trip involves an airplane and is paid with a TV rights check economizing travel costs is less important. But two-game road trips with your travel partner conveyed, even subtly, that everyone was working together to make lives easier.

That ethic evaporated about the same time as basketball shorts stopped being short.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bowl Season May Be Ugly

I don't like the match-ups most of the B12 teams face this year. While I don't expect a complete wipeout, looking bad while finishing 2-3 wouldn't surprise me.

Texas will struggle to keep up with Oregon
Ditto Tech versus Arizona State
Baylor will get a serious challenge from The Best Program Nobody Knows aka Central Florida
Bama will crush the Sooners.
Okie State has the horses to beat Mizzou, but will their heads be in it?

Looks like I'll be working on my To-Do list rather than watching football.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Half the fun of watching the Cyclones is studying the second half adjustments. At some point Fred finds a personnel and strategy combination that results in a 15-2 run over 3 minutes that wins the game.

This has to be a maddening group to game plan against, and double tough to adjust to as the game goes along. So much versatility.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Finishing Better Than They Start

At some point this Slow Start/Big Finish routine is going to bite our Cyclones on the butt, but for now it is quite the fun ride.

To watch the Hawkeyes lose is a most Cyclone way was fantastic. The second half is classic.

Monday, December 09, 2013


While coming back from down 18 to win in OT is impressive, not getting behind will be more important long-term.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Role Change 2

Perhaps the dumpster fire that was the ISU offense is going to change- CPR canned the OC and running backs coach.

Its good to see that lousy work isn't tolerated, and that changes will be made when they need to be.

Bring in a few Jucos to fill holes, get everyone on the same page, and go win some games.

Role Change 1

It was fun to watch ISU deliver some disappointment rather be on the receiving end.

Given how lousy the season was as a whole, the ending was as good as we could have hoped for.

Which moves us to the next post-

Sunday, November 24, 2013


The 34-0 shutout of KU was cathartic for everyone involved. It was a nice reward for those who put on enough layers to spend 3 hours in 5 degree weather

It was an important win for two reasons: it gave the program a bit of momentum headed into the WV finale, and it took all of the wind from KU's sails after breaking their losing streak last week. Climbing the standings is a long-term zero-sum game. To climb the standings, you need to consistently beat everyone below you. KU is a team ISU needs to keep a rung below to have long term progress.

WVU appears to be in football trouble, so the best thing to do would be to hand them an anchor to the bottom of the standings.