It’s been almost 7 months since we’ve seen Iowa State in action, but now it’s finally time for a new season to start. This year’s Cyclones will face an interesting combo of terrible mid-majors, solid power conference teams, and not a lot in between. The Battle 4 Atlantis over Thanksgiving week will fill in the missing spots on the schedule. Overall, we should get a pretty good test before Big 12 play begins. Here is a quick look at each of our non-conference opponents, so we have at least some idea of what we’re looking at. Credit to three-man-weave.com for information on the mid-majors.
Mississippi Valley State - Kenpom has the Delta Devils rated 353rd out of 353 Division I teams. Last year, they ranked 350th on Kenpom and have ranked 340th or worse every year since 2013. This will be the start of long road trip, with just 1 non-conference home game on their schedule.
Oregon State - Coach Wayne Tinkle enters his 6th season on the job with 1 NCAA Tournament appearance to his name. Their best player is his son, Tres Tinkle. Tres averaged nearly 21 points per game last season.
Northern Illinois - Eugene German averaged over 20 points per game last season, and the Huskies other top 2 players graduated. He should be a 1-man show. They had the 3rd lowest assist rate in the country last season.
Southern Miss - The Eagles were pretty good in 2018-2019, winning 20 games under former Iowa State assistant Doc Sadler. There will be no homecoming though, as Sadler surprisingly resigned to rejoin Fred Hoiberg’s staff at Nebraska. A lot of talent graduated or left, and the Eagles were picked last in the Conference USA preseason poll.
Michigan - The John Beilein era is over after 2 national runner-up finishes. Juwan Howard returns to his alma mater as a first time head coach at any level. Howard’s roster is a little inexperienced, but Zavier Simpson returns for his senior season as one of the better defensive players in the country.
UMKC - The Kangaroos have one of the better nicknames in college basketball. They are led by first year coach Billy Donlon. He’ll be looking for production from 2 grad transfers from bigger programs, Jashire Hardnett (BYU) and Javan White (Clemson).
Seton Hall - Myles Powell is one of the best returning players in the country. He averaged over 23 points per game last year, and is a leading candidate for a number of national awards. The Hall has made the NCAA Tournament 4 straight years, but anything less than making the 2nd weekend this year will likely be seen as a disappointment.
Iowa - We know plenty about these guys already. Perpetual pain in the side Jordan Bohannon is unlikely to play this season while recovering from a hip injury. Fran McCaffery may hit a ref with a steel chair mid-game.
Purdue Fort Wayne - John Konchar graduated as the best player in program history. Without him, the Mastadons (another great nickname) are picked 6th in the Summit League preseason poll.
Florida A&M - The Rattlers rank 342 on Kenpom. The could end up middle of the pack in the MEAC. They were dreadful on offense last year, turning the ball over a lot and struggling to execute in the half court.
Auburn - Bruce Pearl took the Tigers to the programs first Final Four in April. Last year’s team had the 6th most efficient offense in the country, led by great guard play. This year, they’ll likely slow the tempo down a bit, led by front court guys like Austin Wiley and Anfernee McLemore.