Maybe those who've been here longer and seen more can say something too this, but can anyone remember a stretch of three consecutive home games at Hilton Coliseum like the last three? Scott Christopherson's buzzer beater against Oklahoma State, the upset of #5 Kansas, and now this from Royce White....
I believe in Hilton Magic. Put a good team in that building and crazy stuff happens. The Cyclones were down 14 with 14 minutes to play. They were getting shoved around and physically dominated. The game was over. But as soon as a couple shots started to fall, you could feel things shifting on all sides. And it did take a little luck, namely a manic scramble for the ball after Chris Babb missed a go-ahead free throw with 22 seconds left that went to ISU.
|Courtesy Des Moines Register|
What more can you say about Royce White? The last two weeks have been an awakening. He's starting to realize his potential and realize that he can physically take over games. And the guy is brutally honest. Said it was his first ever game winner. Said he was praying KSU didn't foul and send him to the line. I'm a surprised Frank Martin didn't call for foul either. Rodney McGruder somehow ended up on White and bit on the shot fake. Martin said after for White not to be shooting free throws "was an absolute joke".
White, like his team, is growing up. In the last two games he's taken far fewer dumb fouls and has stayed out of foul trouble. Some will worry about whether he goes pro after the season. I don't think he will, he still needs to get better from the free throw line and show more of a game outside of the post. If he improves that over another year....how will anybody stop him?
White gets the headlines, but it really was a team effort. Percy Gibson gave the Cyclones a huge lift off the bench. Chris Allen stepped up after getting called out in the KU game. Melvin Ejim's terrific defensive play to knock the ball out of the K-State player's hands as he was trying to get upcourt and attempt a tying or winning shot following White's go-ahead hoop.
It would take a total collapse by Iowa State for this team not to be in the NCAA Tournament. It's far from a perfect team and I think they will have some bad nights yet, but someone please give me a convincing argument as to why, as of right now, this isn't one of the 68 best teams in the country.
It wasn't pretty, but UNI got a win over Southern Illinois. Anthony James being out certainly hurt, but maybe other guys having to step up in his absence will spark them. Lord knows they need something.
Welcome to National Signing Day. Personally-I hate it. It's fawning over kids who have yet to play a down of college ball. That scouting services and people make a bundle of money projecting "3-5 stars" and ranking classes is a total joke. Half of the signees for any school anywhere will get hurt or transfer. And it takes four or five years to really judge how good a class was based on development.
This year in Iowa Signing Day is really overshadowed. Up in Iowa City I suppose Kirk Ferentz will talk, but the focus will be far from on his recruiting class. It'll be the first chance we've had to talk with him since the Insight Bowl and all of the transfers. Either Ferentz will address it, get peeved and try to avoid it, or altogether duck out of speaking. It'll be a three ring circus. Chris Hassel will be up there.
I'll be covering Paul Rhoads and Iowa State. While I'm sure there is excitement, I'm pretty sure the developments with the basketball team are the foremost thing on most Cyclone fans mind.