In each of the last three seasons, the Cyclones have finished better than their Big 12 Preseason Coaches' Poll ranking. So, on behalf of WRNL and ISU fans everywhere, I'd like to congratulate Fred Hoiberg and the guys on their top-four finish this season. What a fun ride it was.
The Coaches' Poll was released this morning and Iowa State found itself at No. 5, a mere two points behind fourth-ranked Kansas State (and for what it's worth: a first-place vote is worth nine points, eight points for second and so on).
As I sifted through Big 12 projections from some well-known (and lesser-known) college basketball pundits last week, I came to the conclusion that Cyclone Nation's collective blood pressure shouldn't spike if they see this team ranked anywhere from second (by the folks who aren't buying the Texas hype) to sixth (by the folks who believe this is the year Bruce Weber's and Bob Huggins' squads take off -- a definite possibility).
So naturally ISU came in on the lower end, and for the fourth straight season, the Cyclones will have to prove that Fred Hoiberg doesn't rebuild -- he reloads.
Taking a closer look at the poll, the numbers show that four Big 12 coaches believe this is the year Kansas' reign of 10 straight regular season championships comes to a screeching halt, as the Jayhawks earned just six of the 10 first-place votes. Three votes also went to the Longhorns, something I don't think would've happened had Myles Turner decided to play elsewhere, despite Rick Barnes sneakily returning his entire damn starting lineup. Finally, Oklahoma received one vote, seemingly making it a three-horse race for the 2014-15 Big 12 crown. Given that coaches can't vote for their own teams, I am dying to know who made that first-place vote for the Sooners.
Tier 2, if you will, features K-State at 4 and Iowa State at 5. The interesting note here is how severe the drop-off is between the Sooners and Wildcats. Phrase it however you'd like but with an 11-point separation from KU and a 12-point separation from Kansas State, OU's chances of winning the conference are perceived to be higher than their chances of finishing fourth.
That's silly, y'all.
A 15-point drop-off separates the Cyclones from Baylor and West Virginia, who are each tied at sixth, while Oklahoma State floats around in a "they're probably going to be shitty but not 'Texas Tech/TCU' shitty" no-man's-land at No. 8. Per the usual, however, chances are that we're going to be talking optimistically in February about NCAA Tournament chances, from those eighth-place Cowboys on up.
Finally -- go crazy, Fort Worth. Trent Johnson and your Texas Christian University Horned Frogs Men's Basketball team has been selected by Big 12 coaches, who we believe to have been of sound mind and body, to finish not last -- NOT LAST.
RIBBIT RIBBIT, MOTHERFUCKERS.
The double round-robin Big 12 slate tips off Jan. 3 for everyone except Iowa State and Kansas, who will play their conference openers on the 6th and 7th, respectively.