Once again, Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg has his Cyclones on the verge on dancing.
A season ago, in his second year in charge, Hoiberg guided Iowa State to the Round of 32 and despite losing do-it-all forward Royce White, Iowa State is barking on the potential of once again finding themselves in a similar position this March.
That’s credit to Hoiberg, especially considering last season was the first time that the Cyclones had qualified for the NCAA Tournament since 2005.
However, Iowa State is by no means a lock to dance just yet. At 19-10 overall and 9-7 within the Big 12 Conference, the Cyclones are positioned squarely on the bubble, which adds even more importance to this week’s final stretch. On Wednesday night, Iowa State will play host to Oklahoma State, looking for a top 25 victory to boost their resume even more so.
Earlier in the year, Oklahoma State survived the Cyclones in Stillwater by a final score of 78-76. A bucket by Marcus Smart with 3.1 seconds remaining sent Gallagher-Iba Arena into a frenzy, while Iowa State headed back home disappointed. Now however, there should be a sense of revenge and more so, a sense of urgency.
The Cyclones face a must-win situation against the Cowboys on Wednesday night, with the opportunity to protect their home court once again. In fact, a loss just last week to Kansas is the team’s only blemish at home this year.
Hilton Magic has shown its face on a number of occasions in the short Hoiberg-era, yet the Cyclones need one more memorable night and a victory over the Cowboys to press forward in their quest of a tournament bid.
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