Tuesday, April 23, 2024


We at CSJ don't endorse gambling, but we do watch what the bookmakers do. They have money on the lines, so to speak.

Iowa State is at 7.5 football wins for 2024, with the under being the much safer bet.

The rest of the B12 -

Kansas State 9.5

Utah 9.5

Arizona 8.5

Kansas 8.5

Texas Tech 8.5

UCF 8.5

Oklahoma State 7.5

TCU 7.5

West Virginia 6.5

Baylor 5.5

Cincy 5.5

Colorado 5.5

Arizona State 4.5

BYU 4.5

Houston 4.5

Iowa State's schedule, in order:

North Dakota (no line)

at TOE 7.5 

Arkansas State (no line)

at Houston 4.5

Baylor 5.5

at West Virginia 6.5

UCF 8.5

Texas Tech 8.5

at Kansas (Arrowhead) 8.5

Cincy 5.5

at Utah 9.5

Kansas State 9.5

Holy backloaded schedule, Batman. 

It is easy to see how Vegas arrived at the 7.5 number. Assume losses to the four teams with futures of 8.5 or above and the annual rake stepping that is the game against the GoBlas may preserve or ruin your ticket. Yikes. 

The way-to-early ranking of the games by difficulty:

North Dakota

Arkansas State



at Houston

(huge gap)

at West Virginia



at Kansas (Arrowhead)

Kansas State

at TOE (probable score of 3-0 either way)

at Utah

Hitting the over against that schedule will be a big success. The league is going to be entertaining as heck. Grab the popcorn.

Monday, April 01, 2024

Uniform chat on a silly day


Athletics tweeted this image out on April Fool's Day:

It was part of this tweet:
We know, it's AFD, but let's play a long that it's real.

In our opinion, it's a step backwards.

If anything, it further relegates Gold to an accent color only. Are we headed back to the early McCarney era?

Basically cardinal and white. Very Cheifs-like. I'm told some schools have found big uniform success copying wining NFL programs, so I understand the urge.

If we are going to abandon Gold in the football program, so it goes. At least the sleeve stripes will seem intentional. The recent jersey stripes were just- there. If you saw them at all.
When you use Gold as a secondary color rather than an accent, you can do things like this beaut from 1979:
The gold numbers work with the pants, the cardinal helmets work with the jerseys. The road combo was great, too.
Bringing back Gold would put this back on the table:
Or this:
(Still the best ISU look in our lifetimes. Full Stop.)

Two great road looks, too.

For your consideration- Gold helmet, Cardinal jersey (in this example, maroon), Gold numbers, Gold pants:

Isn't that snappy?

I can hear someone yelling in the back: "The Paul Rhoads uniforms looked like USC!"


But the Iowa State uniforms minus Gold look like Indiana.

And Rutgers.

Is that the look you are going for? Really?

Or shall we look like this? 

It's a simple choice. More Gold, not less.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Wins and Losses

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get beat.

We were impressed with the defensive effort from Illinois in the first half, which was uncharacteristic and never let Iowa State find a rhythm or get open looks. Even though the Cyclones cut the 10 point halftime lead to four early in the second half, the game never got closer than 2 points. Opportunities were missed, but Illinois kept making plays. Had they made a decent number of free throws, the game is never closer than 10. So it goes.

The season as a whole was a roaring success. A second place finish in the best league is a quality season. A fantastic run through the B12 tourney was a joy to watch. The standards for the program continue to be raised.

Now we wait to see how the roster shifts in the next three weeks, and look ahead to next season. 

2023-24 was a fantastic ride. Thanks everyone. 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

A Habit of 16

 Twice in 3 years.

Fourth in a decade.

Six Iowa State coaches have gone to the Sweet 16. Otz is the only one to do it twice.

We are seeing the rare become common, be we shouldn’t assume this trip is ever to be expected. So many random things can get in the way.

Celebrate. Enjoy the ride. Even if it feels habit forming, you never know when it will return.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

The view from the bottom of the hill

Our Cyclones went to Kansas City with a challenging draw- games against teams that had already beaten them. Yet they found a way to win each game comfortably.

Now they face a trip to Omaha with a challenging draw. (A faceplant against Drake would be an appropriate retribution for refusing to play Drake and Northern Iowa.) The draw is what makes the tournament fun- and it can't be truly evaluated beforehand, only after. But if the path is up the rough side of the mountain, so be it.

We have seen our Cyclones win several games even when the offense seemed lost, tired, distracted. Those are good experiences to have in one's pocket, to refer to when you find yourself in a challenging moment. Find a way, and play whoever is next.

Go drink Omaha out of beer.

Thursday, March 07, 2024


A team that pulls a game out of the fire late might have gotten lucky.

The team that finds a way, night after night, might be good.

For the record, the CSJ staff loves the style of basketball that BYU plays. It is the perfect antidote to what Iowa State wants to do on defense. As long as they don’t give the ball away early in the possession, they should find an open 3 or a back cut into the lane. It’s beautiful basketball, and will be a challenge for the Cyclones every night out.

The last 15 minutes were a clinic of defensive adjustments and effort, and wrapped the first perfect home slate since Tinsley was at point. Been a while- but only because of what this team does on defense.

Here’s hoping they continue closing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024


While it was often ugly to watch, our Cyclones played high level basketball in Houston Monday night.

The difficult start could have frazzled the team and resulted in a blowout. Instead, they scored 1.13 points per possession against the best defense in basket across the final 30 minutes. 

Unlike last season, the Cyclones will be able to score on just about every team in the tournament. While the trip to Houston didn’t deliver a win, the Cyclones came home with the confidence that they are ready for any stage.

Game On.