After ending the season with yet another second half explosion, the 2014-15 Iowa State Cyclones begin their postseason journey tonight against the Texas Longhorns. UT, despite all the preseason hype, managed to only achieve a 7-seed in this year's tournament. The Longhorns took care of 10-seed Texas Tech last night and currently sit at an overall record of 20-12. A win over ISU would likely propel Texas into the NCAA Tournament, if they aren't "in" in the committee's eyes already.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones are returning to the Sprint Center for the first time since late November, when they beat Alabama before losing to Maryland in the title game of the CBE Classic. Of course, the last time Iowa State faced a conference team in Kansas City was last year's Big 12 Tournament - which the Cyclones won.
The winner of tonight's game will take on the winner of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, which will be played immediately following ISU vs. UT. The other semifinal has already been set with Baylor and Kansas set to battle tomorrow for a trip to the finals on Saturday.
In case you haven't yet, be sure to watch the video below (courtesy of cyclones.tv) to get you pumped up for all the action.
The Opponent: Texas (20-12)
Tip: Thursday, 6 p.m. CST - Sprint Center - Kansas City, Missouri
TV/Webcast: ESPNU (Dave Flemming, PxP; Miles Simon, Analyst) / WatchESPN
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
What to Know
Big 12 Tournament: We're Talking Texas - Because you liked the first two so much, cylentbutdeadly was nice enough to produce a third version of "We're Talking Texas" for the tournament.
Big 12 Tournament: Texas vs Iowa State - Burnt Orange Nation's thoughts prior to tonight's matchup.
Dejean-Jones opens up about past troubles, future hopes - As linked in today's edition of the Mid-Morning Dump, Travis Hines at the Ames Tribune put together a must-read article about BDJ.
ISU coach Fred Hoiberg challenges fans to vote for healthy hearts - The Iowa State Daily's Max Dible wrote a great story about Fred's heart challenges and why you should VOTE FOR HIM in the Infiniti Coaches' Challenge before/during/after tonight's game.
The WRNL Round Table: Big 12 Tournament Picks - For those keeping track at home: KnowDan, The CYdeliner, Yours Truly and austinnarber are 3-1 in Tourney picks so far (following the Kansas victory). FiftyShadesofGray was brave to take West Virginia to beat Baylor, but unfortunately that dropped him to the rear of the pack at 2-2.
The two prior meetings between these teams were high scoring affairs. The Cyclones won 89-86 in Ames back on January 26, then went to Austin on February 21 and prevailed 85-77.
I expect tonight to be another up-and-down game with lots of shots put up. If Iowa State can play the way they did in the second half of their last two games against Oklahoma and TCU, then it will be difficult for the Longhorns to keep up.
On the defensive end of the floor, the key for ISU will be to shut down Isaiah Taylor. Taylor is by far Texas' most important player on offense as he's both scoring and distributing at a higher rate than any other player on their roster. The sophomore guard is lightning quick and has a fantastic floater in the lane that's helped Texas claw back from large deficits in both of their games against the Cyclones.
The referees were calling games tight earlier in the day for WVU-Baylor and TCU-Kansas, so Iowa State will have to adapt and stay out of foul trouble tonight.
I've got a close one with both teams in the 80s.
Iowa State 83 - Texas 80
Which player from ISU or Texas records the highest total of points, rebounds and assists tonight?
This poll is closed