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The WRNL Hotbox: BASKETBALLS ARE ON FIRE

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You have questions? We have opinions.

Sorry y'all for the absence last week. The Hotbox needed a week to think about life's mysteries, because I don't know what to think anymore. Our precious basketball squad is so confused that it doesn't know its hands from its testicles. They play good-ish sometimes but still manage to lose twice at home and to the likes of Taco Tech. How many of you called that banked-in three pointer after the Big XII refs Big XII reffed us? I legitimately did verbally call it, AND THERE WERE WITNESSES. THE HOTBOX KNOWS ALL.

And as we all know, Jameel is a bit sensy and Prohm had enough of it... But things are cool now! Maybe!

But let's get back to the Hotbox pondering all of life's mysteries. These are some of the questions the Hotbox has been rattling around in the brain. Also I'm going to use them as questions for the Hotbox, 'cause, material.

TO THE (MOSTLY MY) HOTBOX:

The CYdeliner,

Are we still optimistic about this team?

Yes? As the always stupid and hopeful Cyclone fan that I am, I can dream. I know I, and probably a lot of you, sometimes look at the schedule and manage to find wins in every game remaining. You know, fandom. Once Jameel got suspended, I thought to myself, "Yeah, this will get their heads on straight." They won a silly game in Stillwater and then managed to not play defense and lose against Tortilla Tech (banked-in prayer and Big XII refs dicking us notwithstanding). So then my optimism and universe shattered. Then I go into the Cyclone dumps for a bit until the next game they win, and the shitty process of fandom starts all over again. So do you still want my advice after all that? All I can tell you is to cheer for your team and don't be a dick. Life is better that way.

The CYdeliner,

We don't win the Big XII Tournament, do we?

If you're taking my advice from above, then OF COURSE. But if you're a gambling man and Brent Musberger, that answer is probably a no. This team just seems to be too inconsistent and plays up or down to whomever the competition might be. And the way this year has seemingly gone, the ball has not been bouncing our way in key moments. Last year, we would get down by a thousand and would somehow pull it out of our asses... until UAB, of course. I feel like we've been UABin' a little too much this year. And in the Big XII Tournament, that's no bueno. These teams are far to good to be pulling that shit.

But after all that negativity, I'm still gonna hit you with you some fandom optimism. Why? Well, for one, Iowa State is back-to-back Big XII Conference Tournament Champions. So they have a pretty damn good idea of how to pull it off. And two, Kansas City is one hell of a time during that weekend. Everyone there is super stoked on the Clones and Natty Lite's are flowing like wine. It's a WRNL contributors dream, really.

So I'll put the odds of Big XII Tournament Champs at 19%. TELL ME DIFFERENT KENPOM.

The CYdeliner,

What makes the season a "success" at this point?

Well, with the lofty goal of Big XII Regular Season Champions diminishing by the day, the only thing left is the Big XII tourney (SEE ABOVE) and NCAA tourney. Since the Hotbox already talked about the Big XII tourney, all that's left is the Big Dance. And unlike last year, we need to make a deep-ish run for this year to be considered successful. Well, wouldn't every year be considered a success if your squad made a deep run in the tourney? If Iowa State were somehow meeting our ridiculous expectations, then I guess we would have to consider the season a success. Regardless, we need to at least reach the Sweet Sixteen and play Iowa as a 1-seed. After that point, I don't care what happens. If we lose, then we lost to a 1-seed and our lives will already be rendered meaningless. But if we win, oh the #HAWKTEARS will be something. I'm actually gonna embrace this alternate reality until we lose to UAB again. You should too.

Okay, that's enough from me.  Let's take just a couple other Hotbox questions:

DNA4CY,

Leathers,

Sup box?

I’m far too busy genetically engineering zebrafish for cancer research this morning to have the usual long drawn-out story/explanation for this question so I’ll just jump right in.

Matt Campbell wears that same leather jacket everywhere he goes. How do we feel about this? Personally, I hate it. His gelled hair with the jacket and jeans look… it’s just so… 90s. Or maybe even 80s? I’m 25 so maybe you all can help me with this.

Check out these two tough badasses:

Do you think they both planned to wear these? This is really bothering me. But whatever, HE GOT HIM DAMMIT.

And I'm going to go out there and agree with you, DNA4CY. I'm not a fan of the leather jacket. It is a bit dated and looks they are about to go solve some crime in a buddy cop movie from the 80s or 90s. Someone needs to get Matty here a nice peacoat. Peacoats are so hottt right now. (ZOOLANDER 2 OUT TODAY).

And this last entry comes from a man who has a lot of thoughts about my ALL STATE OF IOWA TEAM from two weeks ago:

CJ McClea,

Well, since I live in Chicago-land and...

...don’t have to listen to either fan base wax poetic about how much more "awesomer" they are…doh!! I actually hope they both make the final four. Outside of the Carolina’s, maybe Ohio or Michigan I doubt 2 teams from a state like Iowa has ever been done before. It would be pretty cool.

As for the bring backer, Iowa state needs a physical presence and to me Royce White or a Marcus Fizer is the logical choice.

As for the combined team, I’ve seen to many of these and they are always very arbitrary and somewhat capricious. I remember past football amalgamations that combined the two and the problem I always had with the was…even though Iowa State wins vs Iowa a LOT, they comparison of future NFLers is not even close so the bias is always over wrought. But in the effort of fun I’ll attack it from a different angle.

You have to start with Monte Morris and Niang in my mind for sure. I’m not certain Georges is or suin’t the quote unquote best player in the state but his skill set is undeniable and in a combined team that would have crazy and versatile skill sets. He is the most versatile offensively. Not defensively but clearly he could play the point if need be and play it well. Morris is awesome, and although I personally think Gessel is waaay under appreciated nationally (that’s starting to change) and in here, Morris is another level, scoring wise in particular and in the clutch.

Then McKay is "another world" athlete and admittedly I’m a big fan. He has to be included on the team even though I admit I’m a little biased. He has some serious offensive liabilities but he is too quick and athletic to not include. Thomas also is a sensational shooter and an under-appreciated defender on a team that NEEDS defenders.

Now the unpopular. Uthoff is truly insane, he can seemingly shoot over anyone from anywhere. And regularly drags 6-10 guys 24 foot from the hoop and just flips it over their head. I wont be surprised if he doesn’t finish higher than Niang in POY voting.

I’m getting…bored Jok is the best pure shooter on both teams and very long and as a result a very good defender. Not sure hwo you keep a 7 foot kid off a team even if we don’t like him. Uhl is one of the most productive bench players in the nation per efficiency numbers (again not even sure I like these new fangled metrics) and Clemons is likely the best defender on both teams.

When combining teams and your biggest failing is defense why would you eschew defensive help?!

You sir, truly have far more interesting and important things to say than the Hotbox. You should write this from now on.

Oh, and to answer your question, this is an Iowa State blog and we find defense REPULSIVE.

If you have a question for the Hotbox, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook and definitely the comments below.

"I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I'm saying."

— Oscar Wilde