Well, Iowa State has fallen to No. 17 in the latest AP Top 25 after losing two out of their last three games. If you're looking for some kind of bright spot, both teams ISU lost to recently, Oklahoma (No. 2) and Baylor (No. 22), are both quality ranked teams. However, some fans are already hitting the panic button.
Here are three highlights from Steve Prohm's Monday press conference as the Cyclones prepare for two road games this week, Texas on Tuesday and Kansas State on Saturday.
1. Playing a 40-minute game
One of the biggest issues with this Iowa State team thus far has been their inability to consistently play complete games. They've often played great for stretches, but have also struggled for long periods. Prohm says a key to turning that inconsistency around is understanding time and score, even though this squad can put up points in a hurry.
"It was a little Achilles heel for some of my teams in the past," Prohm said Monday. "To where you give them a ton of freedom offensively, but sometimes you need to have ball reversal. You have to get three ball reversals. Up eight on the road, get the ball reversed and to the free throw line."
"We can score so easily at times and so fast, but there are times you have to think about time and score. I have to do a better job of making sure we are aware of that and not take a lot of quick shots because we did. A lot of quick shots."
2. Trusting the Bench
Whether it be due to injuries or poor play, Prohm has been reluctant to play his bench extended minutes. It has put more of a burden on his starters, which has contributed to the team's inconsistency and overall fatigue in games. It's been an ongoing problem for this team, but Prohm says trusting the bench more could give them an increase in confidence.
"I told the team yesterday, we have to do a better job trusting our bench," Prohm said. "The problem is when you're up 11, and then you sub and it goes 11-0 (against). The crazy thing is in that (Baylor) game, it was an 11-0 run in a minute, minute and a half. Another run they hit us with was another minute, minute and a half. It's quick shots (from us) then transition offense for them. Not that it was our subs' fault, but it happened when they were in. You just have to trust them a little more and go with your gut a little more."
3. Responding to the early criticism and noise
After being ranked as high as No. 4 this season, falling to No. 17 now has brought about criticism and concerns about this team moving forward. The expectations for this Cyclones team were, and still are, very high. Prohm says through this adversity, his team is saying all right things and remains committed to the things they can control.
"Coming here I knew the expectations," Prohm said. "I know the expectation is to win a conference championship, be in Houston and get to the Final Four. I get all that and I embrace it. I understand the process it takes to put yourself in position to win a regular season championship and to be good night in, night out during the grind of a long conference season. We can't get caught up in all that (noise)."