Thursday, March 31, 2022

Review

One team surprised all of college basketball and its own fan base by overachieving for most of the season. They pulled two upsets in The Tournament, and came very close to an Elite Eight appearance, a rare bird in Cyclone basketball.

Another team played high level basketball all season, and came within a game of a share of the B12 title. Their season also ended on the cusp of the Elite Eight, an ending most fans would have been happy with in October.

In retrospect, this was a much more entertaining winter than Cyclone fans expected. Next season could be on the same level and, with some breaks, even more interesting.

Enjoy the good seasons when they appear, as we never know when a drought will return.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Astounding

 Of the scenarios we thought could play out this weekend, the one that happened was the least likely. We were clearly wrong on almost every point of our last post. Happy to be wrong.

The men's defensive effort discombobulated both LSU and Wisconsin on offense. Wisky ended their game Sunday with more turnovers than made baskets. Just masterful. Ugly, but effective.

The difference between Friday and Sunday could not have been more stark. The Friday nail-biter was reversed with a Sunday first-quarter avalanche that Georgia was never able to dig themselves out from under. 

Add in the upset on the other side of the bracket, and Iowa State is staring at undiscovered country of their own.

It's a lot to take in, but its a very fun ride.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Bad matchups

 Someone on the seeding committee was unimpressed with the Cyclones last two weeks.

They struggle against quality defensive teams, especially ones that are physical. Who did they draw in their first two NCAA games? Physical defensive teams, both in the top 25 on defensive metrics. They won't survive the weekend even if they find a way to beat LSU.

(The GoBlas, on the other hand, were all but given a free pass to the Sweet 16. They get to play two teams in the 60's defensively. They will hang 90+ in both games and cruise. Figures)

The women didn't fare much better. Potential second round matchup Georgia looks like Texas on paper, and we know how those games went. Add in the potential rematch against TOE, and I think it will be a short tourney run for the women, too.

As usual, I hope to be proven wrong.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Trends

 As noted by Travis Hines @TravisHines21 at the DMR, the Cyclones had a very healthy 1.29 PPP in the first half against KSU, which may have been the best half of the season. The second half was only .719.

But viewing the second half as a whole doesn’t tell the whole tale. The Cyclones managed 18 points in their first 18 possessions, which would have easily won the game if they could have maintained that pace. They were still up 10 with 9:02 left.

But then the bottom fell out. Over their last 13 possessions only 5 points were scored. That’s a PPP of .38. There were 5 turnovers in the last 13 possessions, which resulted in 5 KSU points and buckets of momentum. 

Frankly, the insane start to the game in some ways doomed the Cyclones. Scoring 13 points in your first 6 possessions (2.16 PPP!) lets your subconscious think the game is over in the first 4 minutes. Holding an early lead like that for the remainder of the game is harder than it looks, especially for a team that has been playing from behind for six weeks.

There was a load of good in that game to build from, but this team can only play one way to generate the points needed to win.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Data

Nearing the halfway mark of the Big 12 season, we should all firmly understand how Otz's crew has to play to have a chance to win in the league. 

Games like TCU? Nope.

Games like Stillwater? Yup.

If this crew is within 5 points with 4 minutes to go, they are going to win their share of games. But they don't get in that position when they chuck 50 jump shots and don't attack the rim. Playing defense like they care goes a long way too.


Sunday, January 02, 2022

Plateaus

 We have watched to iowa State-Clemson game now twice, and we are tossing ideas around on how to sum the game, and if it carries symbolism for the Cyclones football program.

Yes, it does.

Any symbolism is in fact simple observation: Iowa State has vastly better talent compared to earlier coaching staffs, and can now play even games against the highest tier of college football teams. Full Stop.

Winning those games is another question. The defense played well enough to win against both Clemson and in 10 of the 13 games this season. That's all you can ask.

The offensive line is able to dominate bad teams (outside of September) but struggles as the opponents improve. That unit may be the most inconsistent of all of the groups, and may- may- be the unit holding the team back. 

We are watching a football program that has a puncher's chance in every game, and barring crazy injuries should be bowl eligible every year. That's an odd thing to write as a group that witnessed the Great Football Walk In The Desert that was the 80's and 90's. 

We will see a lot of new faces next year, but each player that stepped up this year did well. We are on a new football plateau. Enjoy the view.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Double

 Cyclone fans enjoyed a remarkable pair of nights in Hilton. Given how many painful losses we have witnesses to the Goblas, it was fun to hand down a pair of solid wins. 

For the men to hammer the Goblas the way the did was fantastic, especially with Hilton at full roar. If any of the current players didn’t understand the potential of the building at its best, they do now. And the fan base will be returning each night to help carry the team across the finish. 

It’s good to be relevant again. Enjoy the ride.