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WRNL Predicts The 2023-2024 Men’s Basketball Season

We overslept and somehow it’s November. Basketball time!

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Baylor vs Iowa State Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State kicks off their season Monday night against Green Bay, so we gathered each WRNL member around Matthias’ basement card table and held a seance to see what the spirits whispered. After the ghosts got done making Brian Ferentz jokes, here’s what each person heard!


Non-Conference Record (13 games) 12-1

Iowa State’s non-conference schedule this year really is a sight to behold. Signing up to play Duke, UCONN, UNC, Bill Walton’s 1973 UCLA team, the Fab Five, AND Purdue really will stress this young team and push them early. Or, Iowa State will test their mettle in the ESPN Events Invitational against a VCU team that lost their top 7 scorers from last year, Boise State (lost to Northwestern in the tourney last year) or Virginia Tech (NIT), or any of Penn State, Texas A&M, Butler, or FAU. FAU clearly brings the most intrigue to any of those games, fresh off a Final Four appearance last year and the return of stars Johnell Davis and Alijah Martin (AAC preseason Players of the Year). But the Owls are on the other side of the bracket. Texas A&M should compete in the top-heavy SEC, but the Cyclone wouldn’t see the Aggies until the third game of the tournament, if at all. Still, this is an inexperienced group and I expect them to drop a game somewhere along the way. The CyHawk returns to Hilton this year, and DePaul is fresh off a 10-win campaign last season, so a team that needs nothing more than to be tested early and often really won’t see more than an opportunity or two to compete.

Conference Record (18 games) 9-9

The addition of Houston, Cincinnati, BYU, and UCF (I guess) brings some intrigue to the Big 12 schedule that still continues to cause more dread than a root canal. The night-in-night-out grind of the Big 12 has swallowed better Iowa State teams in the past, and protecting home court has never been more important. The Cyclones went 6-3 at home last year in conference play, a mark that must be met again if they want to dance in March. Traveling to UCF feels like a warm hug compared to going to Houston in February, and the Provo and Cincinnati visits will certainly be fun. But wins in the Big 12 are never guaranteed. Iowa State will have to scrape and claw their way to .500 in the league in order to solidify a favorable NCAA Tournament seed, which is certainly doable with Otz running the show.

All Big 12 First Team (Denote POY)

G: Dejuan Harris - Kansas

G: Arthur Kaluma - Kansas State

G: LJ Cryer - Houston

F: Emanuel Miller - TCU

C: Hunter Dickinson - Kansas

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Houston thrives; the three other newcomers do not. Houston seems to be set to succeed in the new Big 12 with a Sweet Sixteen, Elight Eight and Final Four appearance all coming within the last three years. The Cougars have only lost 14 games in the last three seasons, and added Baylor star LJ Cryer to boost their backcourt. Kelvin Sampson’s bruising, hard-nosed rebounding scheme should fit right in to the Big 12’s Mad Max-style regular season. Meanwhile, UCF, BYU, and Cincinnati will struggle out of the gate with the night-after-night grind in the best conference in the country. Cincinnati and BYU will ultimately catch their footing, but UCF sure feels like they have the most potential to finish last this season.
  2. A “middle of the pack” Big 12 team makes a run in late March. I’m talking any of the likes of Iowa State, TCU, or Kansas State will have the chance to make the Final Four this year. Crazy prediction? Maybe not, especially with Kansas State coming off an Elite Eight appearance and TCU barely losing to Gonzaga in the second round last year. Kansas State adds Creighton transfer Arthur Kaluma, and TCU adds Oklahoma State guard Avery Anderson and Jameer Nelson Jr. from Delaware. The Cyclones are the obvious question mark with so much youth and turnover, but the talent is there with plenty of potential.
  3. Someone other than Kansas wins the Big 12. Do I make this pick every year? Yes I do. Am I ever right? Not really. Is this going to be the year I finally get it right? Probably not. While everyone is smoking on the Jayhawks, I’m in the corner slinging Houston, Baylor, or Texas to upset Bill Self and co. Congratulate me now, America!

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Omaha Biliew underwhelms out of the gate but plays himself into the NBA Draft towards the end of the year. This one isn’t much of a stretch, considering both his insane athletic ability and talent, and lack of experience playing major conference basketball. There’s not one single doubt in my mind that Omaha could be the Freshman of the Year in the Big 12, but I also hesitate to crown him as the best freshman in the best conference. I’m intrigued to see how Otz uses Omaha: Watch early on in the year when Iowa State plays all of their buy-games to see how many possessions Iowa State draws up for him. Does Otz put him in a utility role until he adjusts to the speed of the game? Or do we see Omaha look to score immediately?
  2. Milan Momcilovic is at or near the top of the Iowa State scoring list. Milan is an accomplished offensive player who can step outside and knock down threes at a high level. The third highest recruit in Iowa State history will add immediate scoring to an offense that badly needs to be reinvigorated after the last few years. The 6’8” forward will stretch the floor and create space for Iowa State’s guards to get into the lane and serve as an outlet if necessary. If Milan’s shooting translates, look out opposing defenses.
  3. Tamin Lipsey continues to not shoot the ball at a high level. Much has been made about Otz’s comment regarding Tamin Lipsey’s ability to develop a three-point jump shot. On a preseason podcast, Otz cited that Lipsey was shooting “38%” from 3 but didn’t clarify to what level and how that was tracked. Now, I can believe that’s the case in an empty gym in the middle of the summer but going from 20% to 30% over the course of one offseason would be insane. Ever heard of a guy named Kawhi Leonard? Much was made of the incredible deconstruction of his jump shot that led him to shoot 44% from 3 in 15-16. While some consider that change to be one of the most dramatic in recent memory, Kawhi finished the prior year shooting 35%, a 9% increase from 14-15 to 15-16. It’s unlikely Lipsey comes close to shooting 30% from 3 this season, but he should still improve from an abysmal 20%.

Iowa State Floor

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but if Iowa State’s offense continues to commit the basketball version of war crimes, we could be in for a long season. This team is young and could show growing pains in the non-con. Multiple losses in the Orlando tournament coupled with dropping a game to Iowa or Depaul would put Iowa State at a disadvantage going into conference play. Iowa State’s lack of ability to generate open looks is further exposed in conference play as opponents gash an exhausted Iowa State defense that sees no help on the other end of the floor. The Cyclones fail to protect home court and ultimately accept an NIT berth.

Iowa State Ceiling

Omaha Biliew goes supersonic to start the year and leads a rejuvenated offense, highlighted by a scheme that stresses spacing and high percentage looks. Iowa State’s newcomers thrive in a defensive system that forces an abundance of turnovers every night. The Cyclones go undefeated in non-conference play and enter conference play ranked in the Top 25. Iowa State not only protects home court but loses exactly once at home to Kansas. The Cyclones find their stride late in the season and run through the newly expanded Big 12 Tournament, solidifying a 3 seed in the Big Dance. From there, the Cyclones finally remain hot for 3 straight games in the Tourney, eventually losing in the Elite Eight. Omaha is a lottery pick and Milan pledges to stay in school for 4 years to work on a fake degree that gets him closer to breaking the Iowa State scoring record.

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF


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

It’s a pretty easy schedule for the Cyclones in the non-conference. Nothing really stands out as a loss besides a potential matchup with FAU in the ESPN Events Invitational. I think they can get by VCU and their next matchup Boise State or Virginia pretty easily.

The rest of the way becomes very easy. A road game against DePaul and home game for the CyHawk Rivalry stand out as the best games left in the non-conference. A 12-1 record isn’t a crazy statement, but the Big 12 will put a bruise on this team.

Iowa State’s Conference Record: 11-7

In year number three under Otz, it will be his first year with a winning record in the conference. February 10th through March 6th it becomes a very favorable schedule for the Clones. Five home games and just three road games including at Cincinnati and at UCF. I expect a loss at K-State, sweep to Houston, loss to Texas and Baylor on the road. Then I add in two unexpected losses with how young thai year is. Yet. a 11-7 record in the best basketball conference is something to get behind.

All Big 12 First Team

G - Max Abmas - Texas

G - LJ Cryer - Houston

G - Ja’Kobe Walter - Baylor

C- Jesse Edwards - West Virginia

C - Hunter Dickinson - Kansas

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Houston takes the Big 12 crown in their first year in the league. LJ Cyrer and Jamal Shead led one of the best backcourts in the country. The only question is if their frontcourt can come to play in every game this season.
  2. Texas plays better than they did last year. Abmas is a better shooter than Carr and they have a loaded frontcourt right now. Now last year they finished 12-6 in the conference, won the tourney in KC, and made the Elite Eight. I believe they finish 13-5, made it to the conference championship game and once again make an appearance in the Elite Eight. All in on the Longhorns.
  3. TCU is the ultimate darkhorse in this league. Avery Anderson, Chuck O’Bannon, and Emanuel Miller are back for another year. Add that in with Delaware transfer Jameer Nelson Jr., and they have some true talent on this roster. One thing they have now that they didn’t last year? Shooting. Watch out for the Horned Frogs to make all kinds of noise.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Tamin Lipsey shoots better than 34% from three and 45% from the field this year. There is going to be a lot more spacing and offense on this squad than last year. Pick and rolls with Tre King and Omaha will give Lipsey a lot more opportunities to score and make plays.
  2. Hason Ward breakout season. Now by breakout season, I don’t mean he’s scoring 20 and 10 a game. But he will bring more shot blocking and alley-oop potential this year. He was slow with their feet on defense, but surely defensive-minded TJ had that fixed.
  3. Three Cyclones shoot 40% or better from behind the arc. Yep, you read that right. My top answers for this include Curtis Jones, Milan Momcilovic, Jackson Paveletzke, and Keshon Gilbert. I truly think that just three of these guys shooting over 40% is such a lock.

Iowa State Floor

The floor for this season probably ends around an 18-15 type record. The young group struggles in Big 12 play and hits a major slump in the dead of winter. They can’t bring home tough road wins and they drop some wins in Hilton as well. The freshmen get beat up by the physically of the league and Lipsey’s shooting does not improve.

Iowa State Ceiling

Offense? Offense. The Cyclones hit their stride, having the offense click in almost every fashion. The guard depth proves to be a major factor with the opportunities to plug someone new in whenever someone struggles. Omaha and Milan play off each others game and have these Iowa State fans truly believe in something. Also, don’t forget about the 30-point win against Iowa and their awful roster.

Matthias Schwartzkopf

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record: 12-0

New Hampshire doesn’t stand a chance. Iowa sucks. FAU was a flash in the pan. Clones roll early and often.

Iowa State’s Conference Record: 12-6

Much of the same here from the previous years. Iowa State will have some bumps but the team should be gelling to carry them to Kansas City.

All Big 12 First Team

Tamin Lipsey

Robert Jones

Tre King

Curtis Jones

Keshon Gilbert

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

Houston and Kansas will fight for the top

Central Florida University will be easy wins for everyone

Kansas City proves to be better than Las Vegas

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

Robert Jones puts Hunter Dickinson in a blender

Tamin Linsey shoots over 30% from deep

Omaha Biliew doesn’t start right away but ends up being big for the team

Iowa State Floor


Iowa State Ceiling

National Title

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF


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

Great news everyone! The only panic-mode button I have is TAMU, but you know what? The SEC is overrated and will lose to FAU which will learn Otzelbasketbergerball real quick like and be 0-3 vs the Cyclones. Cy-Hawk? Pahlease. Who’s gonna step up in that game for the Hawks? The beer-bellied guy who’s cosplaying as Caitlin Clark? Yeah right.

Iowa State’s Conference Record (11-7)

This is a young team that showed we had some serious weaknesses last year. Tamin refused to pull up a three when open and we were in more foul trouble than Huggie’s teams of old. With some of the way the schedule is set up and who we are playing, it’s going to be a meat-grinder of a conference YET AGAIN (yay). I think we are going to have some big wins against Houston and Kansas at Hilton this year, but somehow fall flat on our face against the likes of the new bottom-feeders in some way shape, or form. 11-7 is still something to be proud of and should get us a decent seed in both the Big 12 Championship and March Madness.

All-Big 12 Team

(G) Dajuan Harris - Kansas

(G) Max Abmas - Fexas

(G) Tamin Lipsey - Iowa State

(F) Jalen Bridges - Baylor

(C) Hunter Dickinson - Kansas

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. Kansas will not win the Big 12 in the regular season but will win the Big 12 bracket. They are a very good team, but with Houston now in the fold, Texas and Baylor both looking strong, and more than half the conference being in the top 50 in Kenpom just shows that any slipups or distractions could hamper a team’s chance at getting the number one seed in the Big 12.
  2. Blood-bath is an understatement for this conference and I don’t see that slowing down any time soon. I think half the conference can make March Madness and I think that all the teams that make it are also going to go at least two rounds deep.
  3. Tyrese “Judas” Hunter is gonna learn bench.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Tamin still didn’t learn what a 3-point ball is but it won’t matter when he gets a 5-to-1 AST:PTO this season. Tamin is going to have so many assists that even Jason Kidd is going to have to rethink his career.
  2. BRE is going to be the MVP of the team with his new found ability to not foul three times in 30 seconds. He will be getting double-digit boards and posterizing everyone but Hunter Dickinson.
  3. Defense? More like OFFENSE! Iowa State is still going to be solid defensively, but I’m going to say we put up so many points that Conrad Hawley is going to be seeing a lot more playing time than we thought!

Iowa State’s Floor

Matthias beat me to the punch - but yeah, the floor is 0-31. Do I think we will go 0-31? No, but in theory, that is the floor.

Iowa State’s Ceiling

National Champions! But if we are being serious - my ceiling has us around 24 wins. Big 12 ain’t slouches and it’s going to be rough. Just all I ask for is to make it to the Sweet 16.

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Levi Stevenson

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record: 12-0

I honestly didn’t even notice that New Hampshire wasn’t the online, for-profit college, Southern New Hampshire University. There are two schools named after cities, which is typically a bad sign if we’re not talking about Cincinnati and Louisville. We’ve got two A&Ms from outside the state of Texas, and the school from Idaho that doesn’t play football in the Kibbie Dome. I don’t know what the purpose of this schedule is other than to attempt to break the school record for non-conference average margin of victory, but this is just a terrible slate of games that will tell us virtually nothing important about the team.

Iowa is probably going to be painfully mediocre this season, and that might be the best game before the month of January. Disgusting.

Iowa State’s Conference Record: 10-8

As mentioned before, the non-conference schedule is so bad that we’ll likely have no idea at all what this team really is, and they will have faced relatively little adversity by the time they head to Norman on January 6th to open conference play. Right now, the roster is incredibly young and inexperienced, which almost always means struggles on the road.

If three-point shooting takes a big step forward like many people think it can, then it’s certainly possible that they exceed this prediction, but I need to see a consistently functional offense before I believe it exists. Fortunately, the Big 12 is so outrageously good that a winning conference record is essentially an auto-bid for the NCAA tournament.

All Big 12 First Team

G: Dejuan Harris - Kansas

G: Arthur Kaluma - Kansas State

G - Ja’Kobe Walter - Baylor

C- Jesse Edwards - West Virginia

C - Hunter Dickinson - Kansas

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. UCF, Cincinnati, and BYU all struggle mightily and have major issues adjusting to the physicality of the Big 12. None make the NCAA Tournament.
  2. West Virginia’s offseason turmoil takes a hefty toll, and the Mountaineers finish just ahead of UCF in the final standings.
  3. Kansas State barely sneaks into the NCAA Tournament as a play-in participant.

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

  1. Iowa State uses more than five different starting lineups throughout the season.
  2. The defense falls back to just being in the upper half, but the offense rises to the middle of the pack
  3. Tamin Lipsey still doesn’t eclipse 30% from three, but leads the Cyclones in scoring.

Iowa State Floor: 16-14

As mentioned, the non-con schedule is awful, which keeps the floor fairly high, but dropping three games against anything resembling real competition isn’t out of the question. In conference play, not taking care of home court could bite, big time, because there won’t be a ton of road win opportunities.

Iowa State Ceiling: 26-4

An undefeated non-conference schedule is completely doable, and if the three-point shooting has taken a good step forward, including Tamin Lipsey’s, then this team is talented and athletic enough to win the conference. Steal a road win at Kansas and maybe a couple others, and a special season is within reach.

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Austin Keeney

Iowa State’s Non-Conference Record: 11-2

This non-conference schedule stinks. I’ll just come right out and say it. Other than the Thanksgiving tournament and the CyHawk game there’s basically nothing to get excited about. I’ll take the slightly pessimistic approach and say we drop a couple in Orlando when we face increased competition for the first time. We’ll run the table otherwise though.

Iowa State’s Conference Record: 10-8

I’ll go 1 win better than the standard 9-9 because the bottom of the conference is worse with Central Florida, Cincinnati, and BYU added to the mix, and only 1 matchup with Kansas. Don’t get me wrong, this conference is still great, and losing some games is still to be expected.

All Big 12 First Team

Max Abmas (Texas)

Dajuan Harris Jr. (Kansas)

Omaha Biliew (Iowa State)

Emanuel Miller (TCU)

Ja’Kobe Walter (Baylor)

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

1. Hunter Dickinson doesn’t make the all-conference team

2. Kansas State takes a big step back

3. At least 8 Big 12 teams make the NCAA tournament

3 Random Iowa State Predictions

1. Keshon Gilbert leads the team in scoring

2. Omaha Biliew becomes a lottery pick

3. Milan Momcilovic is playing 20+ minutes per game by conference play

Iowa State Floor

The NIT. Iowa State is playing a high wire act with very few non-conference opportunities to move the needle. Finding a rotation TJ can trust early will be key because there are about 10-12 guys on this roster that can play and not that many minutes to spread around. A couple losses in Orlando, and some continued offensive struggles, especially from 3 point range, could have us looking at a 17-14 team that hangs around the bubble but misses the NCAA tournament.

Iowa State Ceiling

This is easily the most talented roster TJ Otzelberger has assembled since coming to Iowa State. Improved playmaking from the transfers plus the defensive ability of Omaha Biliew will have us spending most of the year in the AP Top 25, finishing in the top 3 of the Big 12, and earning a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Summarize Iowa State’s Season with a GIF

Non Conference Record (12-0)

It doesn’t seem to matter who is in front of TJs team in the non con, Otzelbasketbergerball seems to always find a way to grab a win. Since his arrival in Ames, Iowa State has thrived vs their non con schedule and this is the easiest one they’ve had yet. Iowa State could potentially run into FAU in the ESPN invitational but I still like the clones to take care of business here.

Conference Record (11-7)
There are still a decent amount of unknowns with this Iowa State team. How are these transfers going to blend? Do the freshman live up to the hype? Can Lipsey shoot above 30% from 3? It’s going to be important for Iowa State to find most of these answers in the non conference because you don’t want to be searching in this absolute gauntlet of a schedule. The Big 12 is once again, far and away the best conference in the country. Iowa State has some real tough games at home this year, like Houston while the students are still on break. I think they finish around 6th in the conference but in this conference that still most likely gets you a top 5 seed come march. Should be fun to see this team gel together over the year.

3 Random Big 12 Predictions

  1. K State is sort of a let down
  2. Houston wins the conference
  3. Hunter Dickinson doesn’t live up to the hype

3 Random ISU predictions

  1. Curtis Jones leads Iowa State in PPG-
  2. Milan is the best freshman this year
  3. Tamin shoots above 30% from 3

ISU Floor (17-13)

Worst Case scenario ISU drops 3 games in the non con (Iowa, Depaul, VCU) and 10 games in conference (unless the whole team is injured or something catastrophic happens) that puts ISU at 13 Ls on the season and probably on the outside looking in come march. Good news is I don’t expect this to come even close to happening.

ISU Ceiling (26-4)

I think best case scenario this year is Iowa State is able to go undefeated at Hilton, which would be a miracle with this schedule. There is just about no way this team can lose under 4 games on the road with how great the conference is this year, but that’s ok! I do not think we go 26-4 but if this team somehow does, come march, the last person in Ames turn the lights off.