We are just 41 days away from the season opener for the Iowa State Cyclones. We got transfers, a 5-Star, new teams in the conference, and now a Big 12 schedule. Lets break down this schedule!
January 6th @ Oklahoma - 5:00PM Big 12 Now
Starting on the road in Norman, Oklahoma, the Cyclones will face the Sooners. Oklahoma will be nothing special this year after losing both Groves brothers, leading scorer Grant Sherfield, and starter Jalen Hill. They brought in two 4-Stars to the roster and a below average transfer class. The Cyclones are 1-1 at Oklahoma during the T. J. Otzelberger era, and they should win this game to start Big 12 play.
January 9th vs. Houston - 6:00PM ESPN2
Houston is once again one of the best teams in College Basketball. The atmosphere should be electric, but the date may have an effect on it. Students will still be on break, but if Houston is ranked inside the top 5 heading into the game (as they probably will be) hopefully more students arrive. Former Baylor guard, LJ Cryer transferred to Houston this summer and will join the backcourt with star point guard Jamal Shead. The Cyclones are a career 3-3 vs Houston with the last game coming in the 2009-10 season where Iowa State lost 82-75 in double OT. Iowa State keeps it close, but the Cougars come away with the victory.
January 13th vs. Oklahoma State - 5:00PM ESPN2
The Cowboys owned Iowa State last season, sweeping them during the regular season. TJ is 1-3 against Oklahoma State while the head coach at Iowa State. Oklahoma State lost three key players; Avery Anderson, Kalib Boone, and Moussa Cisse to the transfer portal. Bryce Thompson and John-Michael Wright lead the way for returners in the 2023-24 season. Still, the Cowboys don’t have a great roster, including low shooting numbers, and weak depth. Cyclones take this one with ease.
January 16th @ BYU - 8:00PM Big 12 Now
BYU is the now the largest arena in the Big 12, seating 19,000 people. A great environment where the Cyclones will visit for the first time since the 2014 season (when they won 90-88). The Cougars will be solid, not great, but will compete in almost every game. Despite the great atmosphere, Iowa State has a better roster and coach. The Cyclones are a career 6-0 against BYU all-time and should make it 7-0 after this game.
January 20th @ TCU - TBA
TCU is one of the more interesting teams in the Big 12. They lost Mike Miles Jr. Eddie Lampkin Jr., and Damion Baugh. However they brought in Avery Anderson (Oklahoma State), Jameer Nelson Jr (Delaware), and Ernest Udeh Jr. (Kansas) to pair up with their returners. They have the shooting, a lot of talented guards, and a good coach in Jamie Dixon. The Cyclones are 2-0 in Fort Worth while under TJ, but this game might slip away from them.
January 24th vs. Kansas State - 8:00PM ESPN2/ESPNU
After losing in the Elite Eight last season, Markquis Nowell and Keyontae Johnson both departed to the pros. Coach Tang wasted not time trying to replace them and he went right to the portal and grabbed Tyler Perry from North Texas and Arthur Kaluma from Creighton. Both high-level transfers and who will help K-State remain in the race for the Big 12. The Cyclones are 2-2 vs Kansas State under TJ, and a victory will come in Hilton to turn the record to 3-2.
January 27th vs. Kansas - 12:30pm CBS (CBS? Oh hell ya!)
Saturday. 12:30. On CBS. This is what Cyclone fans want, the respect from the media. And they got it with this one. Two of TJ’s losses to Kansas came by a combined three points. It’s a great rivalry and the atmosphere is always great when they meet. Kansas loaded up with Hunter Dickinson, Nick Timberlake, and Arterio Morris. However Morris is suspended until further notice with off the court issues. Kansas will once again be a top team all year long, but Hilton will get the best of them on Saturday.
February 3rd @ Baylor - 7:00PM ESPN2
You just never get a break in the Big 12. After facing Kansas State and Kansas, what’s your reward? A road game in Waco in their new arena. TJ had Baylor’s number last year, going 3-0 against the Bears. Baylor is going to have to trust a lot of youngsters on their roster, especially after the departures of Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer, Flo Thamba, Dale Bonner, and Keyonte George. Key names to watch for Baylor this year include VCU transfer Jayden Nunn, 5-Star Ja’Kobe Walter, and Langton Love. Young team vs young team, but the Cyclones pull through.
February 6th @ Texas - 7:00PM Longhorn Network (Booooo)
So glad all 30 people who have Longhorn Network can watch this game. It’s gross to say, but Texas will be good once again this year. Tyrese Hunter, Dillon Mitchell, and Dylan Disu are all back with incoming key transfers Max Abmas and Kadin Shedrick. The Longhorns did lose Marcus Carr, Timmy Allen, Christian Bishop, and Sir’Jabari Rice which will affect them. The Longhorns will contend in their final year in the Big 12, and that will include a home win against the Cyclones.
February 10th vs. TCU - 1:00PM ESPN/ESPN2
This time at home, Iowa State will get revenge on TCU. After dropping the first matchup, Iowa State takes the win against the Horned Frogs.
February 13th @ Cincinnati - 6:00PM ESPN2/ESPNU
Iowa State is a career 2-4 against Cincinnati, including a home loss in overtime during Monte Morris’ senior year. The Bearcats are another interesting team inside the conference. They lost a lot of talent from last year’s squad, but did get some help in the portal. Former Iowa guard, CJ Fredrick joins the roster after a couple years at Kentucky. Two returning players to get an eye on include John Newman III and Viktor Lakhin. The big man Lakhin will be in the race for Defensive Player of the Year. This is a win for Iowa State.
February 17th vs. Texas Tech - 11:00AM Big 12 Now
So last year was weird when Iowa State played the Red Raiders. So weird. The Cyclones beat them by 30 at home and had one of the biggest meltdowns ever when they faced them on the road. It's a new look in Lubbock with first-year coach Grant McCasland. They lost eight players to the portal but brought in six. Names to watch include Joe Toussaint, Devan Cambridge, and Pops Isaacs. The Red Raiders will have their ups and downs this year and a loss in Hilton.
February 19th @ Houston - 6:00PM ESPNU
On the road, at Houston will not be easy. L.
February 24th vs. West Virginia - 1:00PM ESPN/ESPN2
No Bob Huggins on the sideline for West Virginia which will be normal to no one. Interim Head Coach Josh Eilert takes over with a boatload of transfers. Jose Perez, Jesse Edwards, and Kerr Kriisa all headline the roster heading into the season. They have talented players, but it will take time to mesh together. Edwards will be a top player in the Big 12 and Kriisa will load up on assists and steals, as one of the best guards in the conference. Iowa State will still get the best of them. Winner winer chicken dinner.
February 28th vs. Oklahoma - 7:00PM Big 12 Now
Home game against a mid roster like Oklahoma? Yup, they get revenge for the home loss last year and beat up on them.
March 2nd @ Central Florida - 3:00PM Big 12 Now
A fun fact, UCF and Iowa State have never met before. After losing Taylor Hendricks to the NBA Lottery in the offseason, UCF took a major dip with talent on their roster. They are still a solid team, but solid won’t get it done in the Big 12. Omar Payne and CJ Walker are some of their best players coming into the season, but their best does not compare to the rest of the conference. Cyclones roll in Florida!
March 6th vs. BYU - 7:00PM Big 12 Now
Senior night for Bob Jones? That’s the definition of a can’t lose game. BYU is solid, but Iowa State has a much better roster and will be in Hilton for the last time this season. An interesting note, TJ is 0-2 on senior nights as the head coach in Ames. A scary stat, but a victory will be added to the win column this time.
March 9th @ Kansas State - 1:30PM ESPNU
Heading into March Madness, the Cyclones take a trip to Manhattan, Kansas, to end the regular season. While playing in Manhattan, in TJ’s first year they came away with a victory and last season they let one slip away from. They compete very well there, but a loss occurs in another close one.
My prediction is 13-5 for the Cyclones. A couple swing games that stand out is @ Baylor, @ TCU, and home against Houston. I have them going 2-1 in those games, but against good competition in each one, the ending can easily change.