Iowa State officially opened up the 2014-15 basketball season with a 93-82 win over Oakland on Friday. The final score may not have been the behind-the-woodshed beating Cyclone fans were hoping for... But hey, a win's a win.
Tonight, Fred Hoiberg's squad has the chance to match the win total of our football team in a contest against
another cupcake THE SECOND COMING OF THE 1996 CHICAGO BULLS, GOD HELP US ALL.
The Opponent: Georgia State
Tip: Monday, 8 p.m. CST - Hilton Coliseum - Ames, Iowa
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
Okay, so Georgia State may not be '96 Bulls good, but the central Iowa media has done a fine job alerting the public about the fact that the Panthers are one of college basketball's most dangerous mid-majors this year. Georgia State trots out a backcourt that can compete with the best of the best.
Junior wing R.J. Hunter is GSU's star player. The 6-foot-6 wing from Indianapolis was the Sun Belt Player of the Year last year after he averaged 18.4 points per game. Hunter can score from anywhere on the court, but made history for the Panthers when he became the first player in school history to connect on 100 three pointers in a single season. Many analysts have Hunter going in the first round of next year's NBA draft.
Playing alongside Hunter in the guard court will be transfers Ryan Harrow (Kentucky) and Kevin Ware (Louisville). Harrow was a five star prospect coming out of high school and led all scorers with 25 points in Georgia State's season-opening 115-55 win over Tennessee Temple (who are about as good as their name sounds). Ware's claim to fame comes from the gruesome injury he sustained in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Don't Google it, trust me.
Georgia State will be a stern test for a Cyclone team that has yet to receive reinforcements from Abdel Nader and Matt Thomas. All talks of GSU coming to Ames and giving Iowa State a hard time are definitely warranted, which is why it's so important to make Hilton as intimidating as possible tonight. It will be interesting to see how willing the student population is to make it to a non-conference game on a Monday. The diehards will know what we're up against, but the casual fans may see "Georgia State" on the schedule and shrug it off.
To those casual fans - Georges Niang and Co. will provide the Hoiball, we must supply the Hilton Magic.
If ISU gets out to an early lead and takes advantage of its talent gap in the paint, this one could be a surprise blowout. If the crowd comes out flat and Georgia State starts off hot from the field, it could be a nail-biter.
Iowa State 89 - Georgia State 78