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WRNL Staff Predicts the 2020 Basketball Season

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Move over, Football, it’s Shooty Hoops time!

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Basketball Tipoff William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

As it does every year, basketball season has snuck up on us. Coach Prohm and the squad open up their season Tuesday night, so let’s see what the staff thinks about the 19-20 season!

Sean Dee

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record - 10-3 (Michigan/UNC), Seton Hall, Auburn

Iowa State’s Conference Record - 10-8

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY) -

Tyrese Haliburton

Devon Dotson

Tristan Clark (POTY)

Udoka Azubuike

Chris Clarke

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Kansas does not win the Big 12 (Tech and Baylor split)
  2. Scott Drew calls Timeout... A lot.
  3. Texas disappoints and Shaka is eventually fired (OK cool. Hook em)

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Iowa State will absolutely struggle this year at multiple points, and just like last year, fans will give up on this team at different times. However, unlike last year’s collection of talent, this team will have some serious growing pains that won’t be a quick fix away from a Big 12 Tournament Title. All that being said, and I hope I’m wrong, but this team may not have enough proven guys to get to the Big Dance...
  2. Tyrese Haliburton will dazzle and dominate at times, and puzzle and perplex at others. Such as his game last year left fans screaming at him to shoot, this year’s departure of scoring will force him to be more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor. Hopefully his off-the-dribble shooting has improved in the off-season...
  3. Michael Jacobson will solidify himself as a primary scorer. Did you know that Big Mike didn’t score in last year’s loss to Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament? Turns out when you guard the other team’s primary big for extended periods of time it can hurt your offensive game. Soloman Young’s return should allow Mike to go back to playing PF for extended periods of time, which should open up his offensive skillset to bully smaller players. Big Mike also shot 34% from 3 last year, although that number is misleading due to his low volume (1.3 3PA per game). That number should rise dramatically as he plays more on the perimeter.

Iowa State Floor

My worst fear this year is that Iowa State struggles to find consistency on the offensive end of the floor and can’t defend Hilton the way they should. losses to Seton Hall (look out, they’re good) and Iowa at home, as well as a troubling loss to Oregon State and growing pains in the Bahamas early leave fans disinterested as conference play rolls around. But by the time the Clones put together an upset or 2, it’s too late, and they meddle in the upper half of the Big 12 before accepting an invite to the NIT.

Iowa State Ceiling

Haliburton, Bolton, and Prentiss Nixon combine to form a dynamic back court that defends, runs, and scores as well as any other Big 12 combo. Soloman Young returns with little to no rust, and re-takes his place as a solid rim-protector. The team rips off early wins and turns a few heads in Atlantis before bowing out to a much better Gonzaga team late in the tournament. Following a thrashing of Seton Hall at home, Iowa State roars into Big 12 play with only one non-conference loss, and battles for first place before eventually finishing third. The Cyclones put together a run to the Sweet Sixteen, before they run into the eventual National Champions (whoever it ends up being).

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Aiden Wyatt

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record - 12-1

Iowa State’s Conference Record - 12-6

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Michael Jacobson (ISU)

Udoka Azubuike (POY, Kansas)

Tristan Clark (Baylor)

Davide Moretti (Texas Tech)

Devon Dotson (Kansas)

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Kansas gets busted midway through the season and the NCAA gives out punishment by mid-February.
  2. Chris Beard transforms his roster into a force to be reckoned with.
  3. TCU’s basketball program is disbanded and UMKC takes their place in the Big 12.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Tyrese Haliburton averages 10+ ppg and 10 apg
  2. Steve Prohm will have this team rolling by Big 12 play and finally gets his haters to believe he knows a thing or two about a thing or two
  3. Michael Jacobson dunks on Udoka Azubuike in the Big 12 Tournament and is handed Big 12 POY in his post game press conference

Iowa State Floor

Chemistry becomes an issue and the Cyclones struggle to win even at home, finish 8th in the Big 12.

Iowa State Ceiling

The team clicks early and spends a lot of time in the top 25, finishing second in the Big 12 and why not, win another league championship in KC. Follow that with an Elite 8 appearance.

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Jake Brend

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record- 10-3 with losses to North Carolina, Seton Hall x2

Iowa State’s Conference Record- 9-9, wins TCU x2, West Virginia x2, vs Oklahoma State, vs Texas Tech, vs K-State, vs Oklahoma, vs Texas

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Tyrese Haliburton

Devon Dotson

Desmond Bane

Tristan Clark (Big 12 POY)

Udoka Azubuike

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Kansas shares the Big 12 title with Baylor
  2. Conference only gets 5 teams in the Big Dance
  3. Kansas loses at home to Oklahoma State somehow

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Michael Jacobsen gets in a fight and wins
  2. George Conditt’s dad becomes even cooler
  3. Iowa State makes Big 12 Tournament Final

Iowa State Floor

9th in the Big 12, 5-12

Iowa State Ceiling

4th in the Big 12, 12-6, 6th seed in NCAA

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Austin Keeney

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record- 10-3

Iowa State’s Conference Record- 10-8

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Tyrese Haliburton

Tristan Clark

Devan Dotson (POY)

Chris Clarke

Isaac Likekele

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

1. Texas Tech wins the Big 12 again.

2. Texas finishes in the top 3 of the league and Shaka Smart saves his job.

3. Oklahoma State makes the NCAA Tournament.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

1. George Conditt leads the Big 12 in blocks.

2. Caleb Grill becomes the leading scorer off the bench.

3. Michael Jacobson gets in at least 2 fights.

Iowa State Floor

The Big 12 will be tough as always. If things don’t click, Iowa State could finish around 8th in the conference and somewhere around .500 overall.

Iowa State Ceiling

Like any fan, I’m expecting the best. Last year’s team was loaded with individual talent, but this year’s team should feature much better chemistry. I expect guys to fill their roles with Tyrese Haliburton and Michael Jacobson as the unquestioned leaders. I see the ceiling as 3rd or 4th in the Big 12 with a threat to win the conference tournament and earn a top 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Levi Stevenson

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record- 10-3

Iowa State’s non-conference slate is slightly more challenging than recent seasons, but still has enough wins on the table to help Iowa State get out to a strong start. A road to trip to Corvallis against Oregon State could be the first stumbling block, but I think they’ll prevail. After dropping a game to Michigan in the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Cyclones rebound with wins over a talented Seton Hall team and an Iowa team that could be yet another embarrassment on Fran McCaffrey’s resume. The final non-con loss comes in the Big 12-SEC Challenge, where Iowa State drops a road game to 2019 Final Four participant Auburn.

Iowa State’s Conference Record- 10-8

Iowa State takes care of business at home with the exception of Texas Tech and Kansas, but picks up season sweeps of Kansas State, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State.

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Tyrese Haliburton

Desmond Bane

Devon Dotson

Tristan Clark

Udoka Azubuike (POTY)

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Texas finishes in the bottom four. The Longhorms basically never live up to the hype, so why would that change this season?
  2. Devon Dotson becomes one of the most dangerous shooters in the league, following the same trajectory as Frank Mason.
  3. Texas Tech’s offense struggles without a clear offensive identity, but their defense propels them to a top-two finish.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Tyrese Haliburton’s Assist/TO ratio falls fairly dramatically down to something around the 2.0 mark, but his scoring improves enough to offset the difference.
  2. Rasir Bolton will establish himself as a the program’s cornerstone play for the next few seasons, posting more 20 point games than anyone on the roster, but averaging something in the low teens due to some shooting inconsistency.
  3. George Conditt leads the conference in blocks after seeing a significant uptick in playing time after a strong showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Iowa State Floor

11-18 (5-13)

If Iowa State can’t establish an offensive identity other than playing fast, and their shooting is inconsistent, it could be long year. Winning any games on the road would be a huge task, and the Cyclones would fall to pretty much anyone with a pulse on defense.

Iowa State Ceiling

25-4 (14-4)

After graduating a group of talented, but deeply flawed players, Steve Prohm is able to rally around a group of players that hustle, play physical, smart defense, and share the ball much more consistently. Tyrese Haliburton’s summer with Team USA pays off greatly, as he plays his way to a Big 12 Player of the Year Award. Solomon Young and George Conditt form one of the more formidable defensive frontcourts in the conference, while Prentiss Nixon and Zion Griffin show some high level defensive chops in guarding the Big 12’s plethora of talented wings.

Finally, Steve Prohm is able to run a team that’s made entirely of cornerstone-type guys, and not temporary fixes, and restore the energy around the program we saw when Georges and Monte took the floor. Only road losses at Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Baylor appear as blemishes on a season that earns Prohm Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

GrappleCy

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record- 5-2

ISU is still a couple of years away from beating Iowa in a dual unless there is another perfect storm like last season. I also see ISU probably only winning one of Arizona State and Missouri. But apart from that the non-conference slate should go smoothly. I also see David Carr having a breakout performance at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in early December that cements him in the top ten for the rest of the season.

Iowa State’s Conference Record- 7-1

The only two conference duals that scare me are Oklahoma State and UNI. Both of those duals have matchup issues that provide the Cyclones with no margin for error. I think ISU ends up dropping one of them to go 7-1. However, I think that Iowa State will win the conference tournament over an Oklahoma State team that is depleted from it being an Olympic year.

All Big 12 First Team

125: Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State)

133: Austin Gomez (Iowa State)

141: Dom Demas (Oklahoma)

149: Jarrett Degen (Iowa State)

157: David Carr (Iowa State)

165: Bryce Steiert (UNI)

174: JoJo Smith (Oklahoma State)

184: Sam Colbray (Iowa State)

197: Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State)

HWT: Josh Hokit (Fresno State)

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. People will get confused when they see that UNI is a conference dual.
  2. People will get even more confused when they see that Fresno State is a conference dual.
  3. West Virginia will lose to both of those teams.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Ian Parker will beat preseason #1 Dom Demas at least once during the season.
  2. Austin Gomez will come back from being 8+ behind in a match at least once this season.
  3. Jarrett Degen will get tired of people asking him how the weather is up there.

Iowa State Floor

10-5 (5-2), 15th place at NCAAs

If the breaks go against Iowa State I could see them dropping up to 5 duals and finishing the season 10-5. Similarly, if the wrestlers have a bad NCAA Tournament I see the floor being 1 All American and 2 guys in the Round of 12 plus some supporting points from guys going 1-2 or 2-2. Which would probably be enough for around a 15th place finish in March.

Iowa State Ceiling

14-1 (7-0), 4th place at NCAAs

There’s a lot of talent on this ISU team if everyone stays healthy and clicks at the same time. Beating Iowa isn’t likely to happen but no other team on the schedule is overly daunting. I’d put ISU’s dual season ceiling at 14-1. For NCAAs the Cyclones have legitimate All American contenders at 133, 141, 149, 157, and 184 plus guys at a couple other weights that can win a match or two. If Carr ends up being the real deal, Gomez & Parker are able to put together 3 consistent days, and Degen & Colbray pick up where they left off last season then ISU could end up with a finalist or two and 4 or 5 total All Americans. That would put them in contention for their first top five finish in a long time.

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Ryan Stivers

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record- 9-4

8-3 More than likely handle business against the schools we should and drop games to Seton Hall, Auburn and Oregon State. A beatdown of Iowa will be just what everyone is asking for right before the break with a breakout performance by Rasir to set the tone before Big 12 play.

Iowa State’s Conference Record- Probbbbbbbaly 10-8 with the potential of 12-6.

Really it’ll depend on if they can sweep Tech this year or not. WV will always be a thorne in the side but the for sure sweeps of Kansas State and Okie state will help with remaining in the middle of the pack of the conference.

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Gonna go the chalk route here and say:

Tyrese Haliburton

Desmond Bane

Devon Dotson

Tristan Clark

Udoka Azubuike (DPOTY)

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Despite all the Tech hype from last season, Kansas still reigns atop the standings at the end of the regular season.
  2. Kansas State will finish second in the league.
  3. The conference sends eight to the dance come March.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Tyrese develops into an 18/4/6 guy running the offense and shows that spending the summer working out on the U19 team upped his development.
  2. Conditt spent the summer working on adding a mid-range jumper and becomes the most lethal big man off the bench in the conference.
  3. Grill becomes a rotational guard that dazzles right away with an eye for making the right pass and a consistent jumper.

Iowa State Floor

13-16 (7-11)

The space between this season’s floor and the ceiling is going to be pitched like a cathedral. If things don’t click offensively and if the team doesn’t mesh from the go, it could lead to a long season of trying to find the right players for the right situations. Road games in the Big 12 don’t come easy and if this team lacks consistency shooting and lackluster defense, it could be a rough year week in and week out.

Iowa State Ceiling

26-3 (15-3)

Last season is now a memory and Prohm takes the reigns of a new year with a fresh crop of guys who are young, hungry and want to work. Soloman Young being back into the line up after last season’s injury and brings with him a defensive presence that was missed last year. Tyrese has a breakout season fresh off his gold medal victory over the summer and shows what his next evolution as a player is going to look like. Foundational players like Conditt and Grill get some major minutes in games that really matter to help along with their development for the future.

Zion Griffin and Rasir Bolton both develop into athletic 3&D wings that lock up the major players in the Big 12. If Prohm can somehow find himself in a lucky enough situation for all these dominoes to fall, he could be looking at a run that no one has seen in Ames. The team only drops road losses to K-State, Kansas and West Virginia en route to a top-shelf finish in the Big 12.

Matthias Schwartzkopf

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record- 13-0

Breeze through this portion of the schedule. Things are looking okay to this point. No major freakouts.

Iowa State’s Conference Record- 18-0

Fans are mad that the clone cones are not filled as high and Steve Prohm grows his beard back out because fans are so mad at absolutely nothing.

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Haliburton - POY

Rasir Bolton

Michael Jacobson

Solomon Young

Prentiss Nixon

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Kansas doesn’t live up to the hype
  2. Huggins throws his stool
  3. Shaka Smart gets fired

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. No on court fights
  2. Tyrese leads the Big 12 in assists and Assist to TO ratio
  3. Jacobson shoots greater than 40% from 3

Iowa State Floor

8th in the big 12

Iowa State Ceiling

NATIONAL CHAMPS BABY

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Back40Cyclone

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record- 9-2

Not many concerns with the team at this point other than dropping two non-conference games. The hype will build up into conference season.

Iowa State’s Conference Record- 14-4

The season will be a hot one, then we hit some locker room issues and lose a few and get in a funk.

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Haliburton; ISU (POY… duh)

Chris Clarke; TTU

Azubuike; KU

MJ; ISU

Dr. Doolittle; OU

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. KU strikes a deal with New Balance
  2. Texas Tech starts a Twitter war
  3. 8 teams make NCAA tournament

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. MJ will be three point percentage leader
  2. Haliburton breaks his own assists in a game record
  3. Hilton permits alcohol throughout the coliseum

Iowa State Floor

Will lose four straight conference games

Iowa State Ceiling

NCAA tournament as a 5 seed

Summarize Iowa State Season with a GIF

Matt Nelson

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record 10-3

The Cyclones will most likely get rolled by Auburn (though I wouldn’t be surprised if they win that game, FYI), lose to Michigan, and drop a random game at home against a team they should crush yet fail to come to play. Wins over Seton Hall, Iowa, and Oregon State do help build momentum. I fully expect the non-conference portion of the schedule to be rough.

Iowa State’s Conference Record 11-7

11-7 seems like the most likely outcome. The Cyclones will play better in conference play, and (FINALLY) win some home games at Hilton. I’m predicting the Clones get swept by Baylor, lose to Kansas and Tech on the road, lose road games at West Virginia and Texas, and drop a random home game to someone like Oklahoma State.

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Honestly this one is really easy. Brady Manek is really the only other player with a shot at this list

Tyrese Haliburton

Desmond Bane

Devon Dotson

Tristan Clark (POTY)

Udoka Azubuike

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Baylor wins the Big 12 outright
  2. Texas falls off the rails right away, finishing 8th and leading to the firing of Shaka Smart
  3. The Big 12 is down overall, sending only 6 teams to the Big Dance.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Tyrese still doesn’t shoot enough. I’m just not confident he has a scorers mentality. That said, he facilitates the offense masterfully.
  2. Solomon Young becomes more of a focal point of the offense and winds up on the All Big-12’s Second team.
  3. Tre Jackson sees significant minutes because of his defense and provides a spark off the bench.

Iowa State Floor

13-16 (7-11)

The floor here, quite frankly, is close to the bottom of the Big 12. The nightmare situation for the Cyclones is one where Rasir Bolton doesn’t adapt well and struggles all season long, Zion Griffin is too undersized and doesn’t have the polish to be an efficient scorer, and the offense can never put things together. While we all think the defense should be better, the new group of players struggles to put it together consistently, and loses lots of close games.

Iowa State Ceiling

21-8 (12-6)

I feel the ceiling for this Cyclone team is inherently higher than it was last year simply due to the cohesiveness this team likely has. Solomon Young expands his game to midrange and the 3 point line and plays great defense, Michael Jacobson helps stretch the floor and provides leadership, and George Conditt is a rim protector 20 minutes a night. In the guard court, Rasir Bolton, Prentiss Nixon, and Tyrese Haliburton play excellent defense, making Iowa State play more like a traditional Steve Prohm team. While Tyrese doesn’t double his scoring output, he helps find Bolton and Griffin on the wing, Nixon when he attacks the hoop, and gets the post players involved in the offense. Terrance Lewis provides an occasional 3, Tre Jackson earns minutes for his bulldog mentality, and Zion Griffin becomes a Big-12 caliber wing. All of this helps the ‘Clones take advantage of a down year in the Big 12.

Season in a GIF:

Tony Liebert

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record- 8-3

Iowa State’s Conference Record- 11-7

All Big 12 First Team (Denote Big 12 POY)

Tyrese Haliburton

Tistan Clark

Davide Moretti

Xavier Snead

Udoka Azubuike (POTY)

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. WVU sophomore G, Jordan McCabe takes a HUGE step forward after a disappointing freshman season.
  2. Texas misses the NCAA tournament, and Shaka Smart’s seat gets a little warm.
  3. Texas Tech is relatively average throughout the season, and they barely sneak into the NCAA tournament.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Tyrese Haliburton leaves after the season, and he is a top 10 NBA draft pick.
  2. Iowa State upsets Kansas in Ames while the Jayhawks are the number one team in the country.
  3. Michael Jacobsen averages a double-double.

Iowa State Floor

They struggle to find consistency and an identity throughout the season, and end up barely missing the NCAA tournament.

Iowa State Ceiling

They finish second in the Big 12 and get a top 5 seed or higher in the NCAA Tournament, and Tyrese Haliburton wins Big 12 POTY

Season in a GIF: