A New Home

It is official. As of August 18th, 2014 I have moved all new content to Cyclone Fanatic.  My normal coverage will now be found over there along with the historical databases of Iowa State stats (found here).

This site will be left as is for reference. Please contact me with any questions (kirk.haaland@gmail.com).

Thanks to all who have read and helped along the way. Luckily for you I will still be around, just in a new home.

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No, I’m not talking about your local politicians.

Believe it or not, this column idea has been on my “to do” list for a few years now, I’ve just never gotten around to dedicating 1,500 words to the topic, though I talk about it constantly. But I’ve finally been called to action with the recent spell of “projected lineups” and “which transfer to target” discussions. Continue reading

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2013-14 News & Notes

Over the next couple of weeks I plan to do some player profiles for all of the returning players for Iowa State assessing their accomplishments thus far by the numbers but also evaluating their games and projecting their futures. That is a challenge with Hoiberg at the helm and redshirting players becoming eligible, but I do think it is a worthy process.

Before that, though, I wanted to recap some of the news and notes of this past season as well as numbers for the graduating players in Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane. I tried to keep this fresh by not including everything you’ve already heard about throughout the season and going a bit off of the beaten path. Things like the comeback wins, best start to a season, and 14 game winning streak are old news around here, right? Continue reading

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The Deflation of Rebounding

I’ve thought about it in the past, but it wasn’t until the question was actually posed that I decided to actually look into the situation. It has sort of come up over the past few months as fans dissected and debated if Melvin Ejim should have his jersey retired. How did Zaid Abdul-Aziz (Don Smith) average so many rebounds?

There are a multitude of variables at work here and sadly, a lot of them are undefined as stats were different “back in the day”. Heck, in the 1951-52 and 1952-53 seasons it wasn’t even deemed necessary to track the number of attempted field goals or free throws (don’t ask why it was done the two season prior and then halted for those two seasons, because I have no idea). Continue reading

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The Gift

I really never thought it would come to an end. That is the mindset we get into with great seasons when we are so swept up by the emotion of every single game. Ironically that only seems to heighten and intensify as the season draws closer to an end in March.

It is far from an original thought, but it first struck me when I was 12 years old. I was getting a ride to go golfing with my friend Jeff from his dad. On the way, his dad was giving us grief about the idea of paying money to walk around a big open pasture, hit a little white ball, follow it, and rinse and repeat. That level of psychoanalysis is available with any sport, even basketball. Continue reading

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Iowa State vs Connecticut

I’m having a hard time getting this started. There is an element of disbelief to this Iowa State run to the Sweet Sixteen—just the fourth in school history (the fifth if you count the 1944 Final Four team that was just an eight team tournament). The ascension was initially quick in Hoiberg’s second year but this bench mark was just narrowly missed last season. The media attention and being just one of 16 teams still playing in the real tournament is almost a bit surreal despite being a near expectation since the calendar flipped to 2014.

Those expectations were slightly altered after the first round win over NC Central when Georges Niang went down with the broken foot. You don’t just lose arguably your best offensive player and one of your few guys over 6’6” in height and not miss a beat. Or at least, expectations shift a bit. Of course lowered expectations because of an injured player are meaningless in terms of what is still indeed possible.

Continue reading

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Basketball Blabberings 3/25/2014

DeAndre Kane was the star of Iowa State’s win over North Carolina to get to the Sweet Sixteen on Sunday, and in a lot of ways he had to be with no Georges Niang by his side. He did a lot of damage in a lot of ways on Sunday, most notably his go ahead bucket with 1.6 seconds to play.

Kane flirted with a triple double with his 24 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists but while every point loomed large, could it be his assists were a bigger key to the Cyclones winning? Perhaps. Continue reading

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Cyclone Tough

Life as a Cyclone fan was much different 365 days ago (March 24th) though not due to a drastically different set of circumstances. A year ago, Iowa State trailed by 13 to Ohio State with just six minutes remaining when the Cyclones made a furious run only to have the game slip through their fingertips in the waning seconds.

On Sunday, against North Carolina the Cyclones faced an eight point deficit with just under four minutes to play when they made a familiar run at a last gasp effort. It was fueled by Naz Long and Monte Morris hitting from the perimeter, Melvin Ejim’s defense and run outs, and, of course, DeAndre Kane. Continue reading

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Iowa State vs North Carolina

Iowa State is a better basketball team with Georges Niang; that much is really obvious. But, Georges won’t be available in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament so there is no sense in worrying about how much Iowa State will struggle in his absence. Similar to how Iowa State had to reload at the start of each of the last two seasons and establish an identity this team will have to do the same. Only, this will have to be done while sprinting to the finish line of the season with less than 48 hours to prepare. Iowa State’s margin for error just shrunk dramatically. Continue reading

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Iowa State vs North Carolina Central

All season the debate has raged on Wichita State and the overall legitimacy of their current undefeated run and the opponents that they have beaten to get to where they are today. The same debate, though decidedly less interesting, would rage on with Iowa State’s first opponent in the NCAA Tournament. North Carolina Central has played an abysmal schedule this season but what does that all mean? Ultimately, we’ll find out on Friday but for now we’ll do our best to make sense of everything in preparation for the Friday night tip. Continue reading

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