The Iowa State football team is 1-8. But have no fear! Basketball season is arriving to capture the attention of Cyclone Nation and take our minds off the poor results we’ve seen on the gridiron.
Steve Prohm enters his second year at the helm in Ames with some familiar faces on the team, but also a few notables (Georges Niang, Jameel McKay, Abdel Nader) lost to professional ball. With names like Morris, Mitrou-Long, Thomas and Burton returning for this year’s squad, expectations are still high for the Cyclones, but an unproven frontcourt — at least at the Big 12 level — makes people question if ISU will take a step forward or backward this season.
Luckily, your friendly staffers at WRNL are here to give you our thoughts on what will happen this season. Just like last year, our predictions are being broken into two articles, so get comfy and see exactly how we think the 2016-17 Iowa State basketball team will perform.
10-2. I see us dropping one game in the Advocare Invitational (probably to Miami) and then also losing at home (GASP) to Cincinnati. The Bearcats were picked to win the AAC by the league's coaches and also have two unanimous preseason All-Conference First Team selections in Troy Caupain and Gary Clark. I predict that'll be a classic "nothing goes in" kind of shooting night for Iowa State.
11-1. Come on now, we allllll know ISU is going to drop a game somewhere they shouldn't. My guess is that it'll be in Orlando. Or we lose to the Citadel and burn the entire program down.
12-0. I think Iowa State looks like one of the best teams in the nation early in the season. I'm a little worried about the Advocare Invitational and the home game vs. Cincinnati but I think the Clones pull out victories. Neither of the in-state opponents worry me.
10-2. We lose in the invitational to Stanford and take the cow jokes from their band like champs. We fall to Cincy at home, but squeak at a close one at the Well vs. Drake. Hate that game.
10-2: I'm sure Savannah State and Omaha will be nail-bitters, and call me crazy, but I think Iowa State squeaks by there. Give me a loss in Orlando and then a loss to either Iowa or Cincy at home.
9-3. Losses to Cincinnati, one in the Advocare, and to Vandy in the middle of the season. Vandy is a strange place to play.
10-2. Losses to Cincinnati or Vandy on the road as well as one in the Advocare Invitational. The Iowa game will be tough though.
9-3. One loss in the Advocare Invitational, and two losses out of the @Iowa/Cincinnati/@Vandy trio.
11-1. Only loss coming at the Advocare Invitational in the championship game.
10-2. If there's anything I've learned from preseason predictions, always go two games worse than your heart tells you. The non-conference schedule isn't especially difficult, but I expect some growing pains as the Cyclones transition to life without Georges Niang. Losses to Florida in Orlando and at Vandy.
8-4. Let's be honest, ISU always loses a game they aren't supposed to. That one will be against the Commodores of Vanderbilt and the Hoks on the road. We also lose to Cincy at home who is a legitimate top-25 team and should win their conference.
12-0. This Iowa State team is going to start the season hot and prove that they don't need Georges Niang to win. Last season there were times the players seemed to be unhappy with Prohm and the coaching staff, acting as if they didn't sign up for him to be their coach. That won't happen this year — I believe everyone has bought in.
11-7. The best ISU has finished in the conference since the beginning of the Hoiberg era has been 12-6. I don't see this season being too far away from the norm... Perhaps we'll avoid the dreaded loss to Texas Tech on the road this season though; that would be nice.
14-4. I know KenPom has us losing 9 conference games, and picking against his predictions is like the defying laws of physics, but folks: the Big 12 just ain't that good this year. Losses will come at KU, WVU, Baylor, and at Texas. Call me bullish on this team if you wish, but that may be more indicative of the strength of our league.
13-5. The Big 12 is down, and I don't think Iowa State is nearly as down as many experts think. This should be a team ranked between 10-15 for most of the season. I think Iowa State finishes second behind Kansas, who goes 15-3 or 16-2 to win yet another conference title.
12-6. We lose at Baylor and everyone oscillates between losing their shit and telling everyone else to calm down. We win against Kansas at home and fall to OU in overtime. Naz Mitrou-Long does M3ssiah-esque things at OSU, and threes rain like manna from heav3n for the weeping masses against OSU in Hilton on Senior Night. We lose a roadie that's perfectly within our reach until the minute it isn't, and win a game that leaves everyone going "well that was strange"—the latter is probably against WVU.
11-7: You never know what'll happen on the road in the Big 12. They'll likely be road losses to the usual suspects and then a slip up (or two) at home.
8-10. We shoot well, we win, except against Kansas and Baylor. I think there will be an equal measure of good shooting nights and bad, and on some nights, we will get owned on the boards. Key games will be at TCU and at Tech.
10-8. The offense will be fine, except for a few predictable off shooting nights on the road against the bottom half of the conference. Nobody in the conference will be able to guard Deonte Burton and he will surprise a ton of people on the way to second team All Big 12. Monte will be his usually dominant self. Despite the defensive focus in the preseason, getting killed on the boards and giving up too many easy buckets will cost us three or four games that we should win, but we will never really get blown out. Just like last year. We will lose two out of three among Kansas, Baylor and WVU at home.
12-6. I can see ISU starting 4-2, going 3-3 in the middle stretch, and closing 5-1. I think they pull off a 4-5 road record with wins at TCU, Tech, K-State and one of the Oklahoma schools. 8-1 at home with a loss to Kansas.
13-5. Losses at Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and WVU. Possibly one more slip up after that.
12-6. The Big 12 won't be as tough this season given the losses of four-year studs like Hield, Ellis and Niang, but the conference still boasts some of the nation's most respected coaches in Self, Smart, Kruger and Huggins. Throw in a new class of coaches that includes Jamie Dixon at TCU, and the schedule has fewer gimmies than ever. But the stability of Iowa State's six seniors should help the Cyclones grab a couple of more road wins than last season's drama-filled bunch.
12-6. I don't see us losing at home, but also don't see us winning many on the road either. The back end of the schedule makes me lick my chops as the Clones can pull off 6 in a row, before falling to the Couch Burners in a foul-plagued game in Morgantown.
11-7. Kansas and Texas sweep the season series against the Cyclones. Cyclones also lose when they visit West Virginia, Kansas State, and Oklahoma.
Final Big 12 Standings
1) Kansas 2) Texas 3) West Virginia 4) Iowa State 5) Baylor 6) Oklahoma 7) Oklahoma State 8) TCU 9) Texas Tech 10) Kansas State
1) TIE: KU - ISU 3) Texas 4) Riot Bros 5) Baylor 6) "Oklahomla Sssschhhooners" 7) OK State 8) TCU 9) TECH 10) DUMPSTER FIRE (K State)
1) Kansas 2) Iowa State 3) Baylor 4) Texas Tech 5) West Virginia 6) Texas 7) Oklahoma 8) Oklahoma State 9) TCU 10) Kansas State
1) Texas 2) Kansas 3) Iowa State 4) WVU 5) OU 6) Baylor 7) OSU 8) TTU 9) TCU 10) KSU
1) Kansas 2) Texas 3) Iowa State 4) Baylor 5) Oklahoma 6) West Virginia 7) Texas Tech 8) TCU 9) Oklahoma State 10) Kansas State
1) Kansas 2) Baylor 3) Texas 4) Tech 5) WVU 6) ISU 7) TCU 8) OU 9) OSU 10) K State
1) Kansas 2) Baylor 3) WVU 4) Texas 5) ISU 6) OSU 7) OU 8) TECH 9) TCU 10) K State
1) Kansas 2) Texas 3) Iowa State 4) West Virginia 5) Baylor 6) Oklahoma 7) Oklahoma 8) Texas Tech 9) TCU 10) Kansas State
1) Kansas 2) Texas 3) Iowa State 4) West Virginia 5) Oklahoma 6) Baylor 7) TCU 8) Texas Tech 9) Oklahoma State 10) Kansas State
1) KU 2) Texas 3) Iowa State 4) West Virginia 5) Oklahoma 6) Baylor 7) Oklahoma State 8) Texas Tech 9) Kansas State 10) TCU
1) Kansas 2) West Virginia 3) Oklahoma 4) Iowa State 5) Texas 6) Baylor 7) TCU 8) Oklahoma State 9) Texas Tech 10) Kansas State
1) Kansas 2) Texas 3) Iowa State 4) West Virginia 5) Kansas State 6) Baylor 7) Oklahoma 8) Oklahoma State 9) TCU 10) Texas Tech
Three Random Big 12 Predictions
1) The Big 12 gets 6 teams in the NCAA Tournament.
2) Bruce Weber gets fired after a horrible season in Manhattan.
3) Kansas loses to a bottom-tier team (TCU, Tech, K-State).
1) Kansas State dumpster fires on all cylinders. Bye bye, Bruce Weber.
2) The Sooners really struggle. Yes, Jordan Woodard returns. But he was the type of player perfectly situated to feed of Hield and Cousins, both of which are gone.
3) Josh Jackson, have you met Cheick Diallo and Cliff Alexander? Josh Jackson doesn't have a season quite like that, but struggles a tad in his only (meaningless) college season.
1) In a down year, the Big 12 surprisingly gets four teams to the Sweet Sixteen.
2) Texas and West Virginia struggle with mostly new rosters, and one of the two will miss out on the NCAA tournament.
3) Texas Tech sweeps Kansas.
1) It will be a race to the bottom for KSU. Bruce Weber is asked to give his two weeks notice with 4 weeks left in the season.
2) Kansas's reign of terror finally comes to an end with the Longhorns finally able to overcome the hurdle that the tenure of Bill Self.
3) Every single WVU game runs at least 30 minutes into the next time slot. Their game at TCU runs through the full duration of the next time slot...which happens to be ISU hosting Baylor...because of course it is.
1) Kansas gets upset in the first round of the Big Dance.
2) Huggy Bear gets tossed from two games.
3) Baylor wins the Big 12 tournament.
1) 9 teams in the Big 12 will wake up one morning and say..."We lost to Tech?"
2) Jamie Dixon will lay the groundwork for TCU to become a difficult out on a game to game basis.
3) Three teams will reach the final 8 and the conference will be represented in the Final Four.
1) Oklahoma State's Phil Forte lights up the conference and leads the league in scoring.
2) Jordan Woodard and Khadeem Lattin cannot carry Oklahoma whatsoever and aren't even the best two players on their team.
3) There will be a huge jumble in the middle of the conference with about even records. Kansas will be the outlier at the top with 2 losses and Kansas State will be the outlier at the bottom with 4 or less wins.
1) Kansas loses a freak Big 12 game similar to the game at TCU a few years ago which causes another minor Bill Self freak out after going undefeated in the non-conference.
2) TCU wins it's most Big 12 games in history. (5)
3) Jawun Evans leads the conference in scoring.
1) TCU gets a big upset.
2) Scott Drew will petition the NCAA for more timeouts.
3) Bill Self will be the new face of Airheads candy by season's end.
1) Udoka Azubuike takes over as leader of Bill Self's doghouse. It's a shame we don't have a Brannen Greene or Naadir Tharpe to see Bill truly lose it.
2) Christian James leads Oklahoma in scoring. Jordan Woodard was the primary benefactor of Hield and Cousins' play last season. Woodard will move back to the point, allowing James to build on his strong finish to 2016.
3) Bruce Weber is fired mid-season after an 0-8 start to the Big 12 schedule.
1) West Virginia's entire starting five fouls out of a game. And they still win.
2) Jordan Woodard puts the team on his back and leads Oklahoma to a top-3 finish in the conference.
3) Chris Beard breaks the record for most ejections in a season by a coach.
1) Scott Drew is fired. He's the most hated coach in the league and hasn't ever performed better than what he's been expected to. I got Travis Ford right last season — let’s go 2/2.
2) Devonte Graham is a bust. This preseason All-Big 12 player isn't even in discussion for the end of the season All Big 12 Teams, and might not even make honorable mention. Last year, Buddy Hield was my bust. I won't be wrong this time.
3) Oklahoma State’s pace will be fast - too fast for their own good. Between just Texas and West Virginia, the Cowboys will turn the ball over at least 100 times.
Three Random Iowa State Predictions
1) 3sus of Nazareth returns and hits a game-winning 3-pointer at some point during the season.
2) Statistically, ISU is worse on offense compared to last year. However, they also improve on defense.
3) Monte Morris becomes the first Cyclone since Royce White to tally a triple-double.
1) Naz Long makes the Big 12 second team and has a tremendous senior season.
2) STU not only plays more minutes this season, but he also performs at no fewer than 3 halftime shows as well.
3) Strong guard play makes the Cyclones ELITE this March.
1) Matt Thomas hits more than 105 threes, giving him both the Iowa State single-season record and the career record.
2) Deonte Burton makes a case for first team All-Big 12 with a strong finish to the season.
3) Screw it, let's have some fun. Iowa State wins the national championship.
1) Prohm finds his footing after successfully navigating his first season. He's instrumental in Monte Morris's record-shattering senior campaign, that somehow still feels understated.
2) Naz stays healthy and makes an appearance in peak form. He's a leader on and off the court and gives an emotional farewell speech reminiscent of Georges.
3) Stu dunks on some OSU player on Senior Night. Echoes of "STUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!" can be heard wafting across Central Campus as the campanile chimes.
1) Naz hits 10 threes in a game.
2) Monte has a 15 point, 15 assist game.
3) Iowa State makes a Final Four run.
1) ISU will need an appearance in the tournament championship game to make the Tourney.
2) ISU loses 4 conference games at Hilton. They sweep all Oklahoma teams and K-State and get a win at home against TCU and Tech to get to their 8 conference wins.
3) NIT champions.
1) Naz Mitrou-Long, Matt Thomas and Donovan Jackson all shoot over 40% from three.
2) Merrill Holden turns out to be a much, much better defensive player than Jameel McKay was. Although it won't help our overall defense much because Burton will hack his way through minutes at the 4.
3) Fran McCaffrey's face will boil a burning red and blow over in the Iowa game. He gets two straight techs and is tossed out of Carver Hawkeye and onto the mean streets of Iowa City.
1) Merrill Holden leads the team in rebounding
2) Lots of talk about small ball, but Deonte is best at the 4, so we rarely see it.
3) Monte averages 18 points, 3 boards, 8 assists.
1) Iowa State beats Kansas in Phog Allen.
2) Merrill Holden gives us a big defensive presence all season down low.
3) Naz Long will score over 35 in a game.
1) Nick Weiler-Babb becomes a starter by the middle of the Big 12 season.
2) Matt Thomas receives 2nd-team All-Big 12 honors.
3) Morris stays healthy, terrorizes the postseason, and Iowa State goes to the Elite 8 because why not?
1) Nick Weiler-Babb turns into a jack-of-all-trades swingman who single-handedly wins a few games for the good guys.
2) Prohm runs the three-guard lineup primarily and ISU turns into the 3-point scoring machine of a few years ago (and Donovan Jackson plays the Tyrus McGee role to a whole other level!).
3) Matty Ice, Naz Long and Monte Morris lead the team to a Big 12 Tourney Championship and Sweet 16 berth.
1) Matt Thomas scores 40 points in a game. In the same game, he hits at least 10 threes, blows 5 kisses, and at least 20 Cyclone Alley chicks are arrested after fighting, believing each blown kiss was directed at them.
2) Since this is now his team and he is no longer the noob, Coach Steve Prohm gets charged with at least three technicals and isn't so nice to the officials.
3) Iowa State gets a 4 seed and reaches the Sweet 16.
Which staffer do you find yourself agreeing with the most? What are your own predictions for these categories? Let us know in the comments!