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Reviewing Iowa State’s postseason bench shirts

Which one is your favorite?

This Nike white short sleeve T-Shirt features I-State logo, “Ball In” and Nike logo on the front.
A rack of white short sleeve bench t-shirts featuring Iowa State’s logo, “Ball In” and the Nike logo at the Memorial Union on the campus of Iowa State University. The shirts, which will be seen during both the 2022 Phillips 66 Big 12 Basketball Championships and March Madness, can be purchased for $30.
Jared Larson

Since the postseason of the 2014 season, the Cyclones have worn what one might call “template bench shirts”.

Those “templates” can be characterized as bench shirts in which the athletic apparel company that has a contract with a school has the same, or a very similar saying on each shirt depending on the brand.


2014

A still from the YouTube video “Iowa State Post-Game Locker Room Celebration vs. North Carolina (NCAA Third Round)”
Cyclones.tv

Truthfully, this is a very good bench shirt by Nike featuring a very large school logo and the “campaign” for the shirts that year fits nicely under the logo.

These shirts saw three March Madness games which is tied for the school record (since 2014), including a historic Round of 32 game against North Carolina which is what the above still is from.

The Cyclones, whether it be a personal homerism or an objective take, showed the ability to come together to win even after Georges Niang had a fifth metatarsal fracture to his right foot.

Overall: 8.3/10


2015

Iowa State Cyclones bench reacts during the second half against Iowa State Cyclones in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY SPORTS

I’ll be honest, I still haven’t watched the entirety of the UAB game and for good measure.

I can only find the last couple seconds of the game with interspersed clips from the remainder of the game, and because this isn’t the 100 Things article written by the outstanding Jake Brend, I’ll spare the details of the game.

This shirt, with a much smaller school logo and then NEVER STOPS might have been fitting for the Cyclones against Oklahoma on March 2, but on a Thursday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, the Cyclones season ended almost as abruptly as the song “Perpetuum Mobile” by Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

Overall: 5.9/10


2016

Round one of the men’s NCAA basketball game at Pepsi Center
Iowa State Cyclones forward Jameel McKay (1) celebrates with a dance from the bench during their win over Iona Gaels 94-81 during the first round of the men’s basketball game in the NCAA Tournament March 17, 2016 at Pepsi Center in Denver.
Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Hey did you notice the last two overall ratings were also the scores of games during the tournament?

If so, cool, if not, the more you know rainbow star dot gif.

These worked quite well, especially with the shorts Iowa State wore from 2013-2018.

That’s about all I’ve got though.

This shirt made an appearance in the Sweet 16. That is a fun fact Friday on a (whatever day this is published).

Overall: 7.9/10


2017

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Milwaukee
The Iowa State Cyclones bench erupts in celebration during the Men’s Basketball Tournament held at BMO Harris Bradley Center on March 16, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Even though I just turned 25 not too long ago I feel confident in saying I stan these.

I even have one of these that I bought at the bookstore hanging up in my closet.

From the gold “IOWA STATE” on the chest to the “CYCLONE NATION” in the official font created Paul Meenan on the sleeve, this is the perfect bench shirt, with multiple colors AND the school logo? Mint.

Overall: 12/10


2019

Ohio State v Iowa State
Talen Horton-Tucker #11 of the Iowa State Cyclones celebrates with his teammates from the bench against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half in the first round game of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 22, 2019 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

I’ll be honest, when I think of this bench shirt, I think more of the women’s basketball team playing New Mexico State and then Missouri State.

I do like how the “FAMILY” arcs similarly to the men’s basketball jersey design, and I do realize it’d be logistically tricky to get one to match the women’s cardinal team name on front of jersey, but it would be cool to see such a thing.

These shirts saw a total of three games in the tournament, the aforementioned pair and the men’s game against Ohio State which I attempted to watch on Youtube TV inside a Fong’s Pizza.

I, in a similar nod to the UAB game, didn’t watch the whole thing and after watching four tournament games in person the day before at Wells Fargo Arena, it’s probably for the best.

Overall: 7.7/10


2020

Iowa State v Oklahoma State
Lindy Waters III #21 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys looks to pass against Prentiss Nixon #11 and George Conditt IV #4 of the Iowa State Cyclones in the first half during the first round of the Big 12 Basketball Tournament at Sprint Center on March 11, 2020.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

If you, the reader, moves quickly, you can land a short sleeve version of the “OUR TIME” at Cy’s Locker Room for $21.93.

Because of Cororo cancelling March Madness and how the Cyclone men’s basketball team only appeared in one game wearing this, I don’t really have a take beyond I like how the graphic takes up a majority of the shirt and goes about it vertically instead of horizontally for a change.

Overall: 5.5/10


2021

A still from “2021/03/22 #10 Michigan State vs #7 Iowa State; First Round NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament”
ESPN

This was also a good shirt, as witnessed by blatant homerism 2.0 regarding the fact I have one of these in my closet.

I’m super glad the Iowa State version of this shirt said “Just Us Cyclones” instead of “Just Us Iowa State”.

I even made a spreadsheet about this conundrum while watching the games last season.

Anyways, words about this shirt. I like that it’s colorful in a similar way to the “Iowa State mentality” shirts, and I like that it’s vertical. I also quite like how all of the elements are boxed for pert near congruency.

Overall: 8.6/10


2022

The 2022 “Nike White Bench Ball In Short Sleeve T-Shirt” as seen on isubookstore.com.

It’s a shirt, and until I see what it looks like either this weekend in Kansas City or on the television, I won’t have an appropriate take on it one way or another.

“All In” is cool because during of coach Paul Rhoads’ era at Iowa State, that could be found on the front bumper of helmets and on the rally towel from the 2011 game against No. 2 Oklahoma State.

Ball in, or ballin’, either way this shirt is to be read, it almost like a faux throwback, I’m not sure though because I can confirm I’m in the heads of zero people at Nike.

That being said, the reaction I saw on social media was anything but great towards these, so, this shirt (and apparently Under Armour is doing “No Quit”?) feels very phoned in.

Overall: 4.5/10