I leave for one day and there's as much Cyclone coverage as there's been in months. Where to start?
- The Cyclone Men's Basketball team has released their schedule:
Nov. 1 vs. Dubuque (ex)
Nov. 4 vs. EA Sports (ex)
Nov. 9 vs. Winston-Salem State Mediacom
Nov. 10 vs. Centenary/Lipscomb Mediacom
Nov. 14 @ Bradley CTN
Nov. 20 vs. Minnesota Mediacom
Nov. 27 vs. Northern Iowa Mediacom
Nov. 30 @ Oregon State FSN
Dec. 5 @ Drake DrakeTV (Fox)
Dec. 8 vs. Iowa ESPNU
Dec. 17 vs. Bethune-Cookman Mediacom
Dec. 19 vs. Texas Southern Mediacom
Dec. 22 vs. Purdue
Dec. 23 vs. Alabama/Missouri State
Dec. 30 vs. Albany Mediacom
Jan. 2 vs. USC-Upstate CTN
Jan. 5 vs. North Dakota CTN
Jan. 12 @ Baylor ESPN Classic
Jan. 16 vs. Missouri CTN
Jan. 19 vs. Oklahoma St. ESPN+/Big 12
Jan. 23 @ Kansas ESPN
Jan. 26 @ Kansas State CTN
Jan. 29 vs. Colorado CTN
Feb. 2 @ Nebraska ESPN+/Big 12
Feb. 5 vs. Texas A&M ESPN+/BIg 12
Feb. 9 vs. Texas ABC
Feb. 13 @ Oklahoma ESPN+/Big 12
Feb. 16 vs. Nebraska ESPN+/Big 12
Feb. 23 @ Texas Tech ESPN+/Big 12
Feb. 27 vs. Kansas ESPN
Mar. 1 @ Colorado ESPN Classic
Mar. 5 @ Missouri ESPN+/Big 12
Mar. 8 vs. Kansas State ESPN+/Big 12
Mar. 13-16 Big XII Tournament ESPN+/ESPN
Woo, that took a while to format. This year's schedule is a dramatic improvement over year's past in terms of quality opponents. One thing that works to Iowa State's advantage is a number of games against big name schools, which gives a sense of notoriety to the schedule.
For starters, I love the games against Iowa schools in the exhibition slate. I'd rather see us play schools like Dubuque (or Loras or Coe or Grandview) than Bemidji State or EA Sports or Marathon Oil (do they still exist?)
The rest of the schedule shapes up nicely. The Cyclone Challenge should be two quick wins against lower-level competion. The game against Bradley will be quite a road test to start off the year, but it can also be a barometer. A bad loss (or a loss of any sort) could be a bad sign, while a quality road win against an MVC team could get us going on the right foot.
What follows is a stretch of very winnable games. Minnesota, despite having Tubby Smith, shouldn't be a huge challenge at Hilton. Northern Iowa then comes in for the Mediacom Classic. Despite that thumping they gave us last year, between graduation and injuries (and UNI not usually faring well at Hilton), that game can also be won. Oregon State was a fortunate matchup in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, as another quality road win can be had. A game at Drake could give the Clones trouble, but I can't imagine it would sit well to lose to Drake two years in a row. One of the worst Iowa teams in years then comes into Hilton.
The Las Vegas Classic starts with two games that should be easy wins in Bethune-Cookman and Texas Southern. Following that is what should be a great matchup with Purdue. If the Clones have a solid start to the season, the Purdue game could be a springboard to bigger and better things. Alabama and Missouri State will be tough tests, but the opportunity will be there.
Three final home games round out the nonconference slate. Albany is a trap game for Iowa State, especially if they do well in Las Vegas. I'd never heard of USC-Upstate, and there's little reason anyone should have. Finally, North Dakota is a transitional school that shouldn't be much of a challenge either. Then follows the Big 12 slate - games which we knewe we'd play.
The Cyclones will play non-conference games against three Big 10 schools, a Pac-10 team and three Missouri Valley squads.
"It's a great schedule and you have to play good teams if you want to improve," head coach Greg McDermot said in a press release.
Yup, Greg. You're right.
One issue that has raised itself is the television coverage for the Iowa State men's team. Despite the athletic department trumpeting increased TV coverage, there's something that bothers me.
Televisional type breakdown:
No TV: 4 (2 exhibition, 2 TBA in Las Vegas)
ESPN Classic: 2
ESPN+/Big 12: 8
It looks like a decent year for television coverage in general. Only four games will not be televised at this point, with two being exhibition contests. The two tournament games in Las Vegas could still be picked up for television. I don't like seeing seven games picked up by Mediacom unless there was no other option. Mediacom, in years past, has had pretty crappy production values with a crappy picture. Granted, I'll be at most of the games I'm complaining about, but if there's a choice between watching it on broadcast or on the Connections channel, it's an easy choice. The FSN game is a product of the series itself, I'm guessing, and I'm just hoping it's available in parts of Iowa without FSN. The Drake game will likely be on the local Fox station. The Iowa game being on ESPNU will piss off people throughout the state of Iowa who would need digital cable to watch, but again, I'll be there. The CTN games as well as the ESPN+ games should be on your standard Cyclone station (WOI, KCRG, etc.) The other five games are nationally available. I'm a little curious about the two games on ESPN Classic, but the ESPN and ABC games are probably limited due to our craptacular performance in the last couple years.
Either way, I really like the schedule for this year.
- The women's basketball team also released their schedule. Here's to hoping the women are playing in Wells Fargo for their first round women's game in March.
- Here's the new men's basketball poster for this year:
It's alright, but a schedule on it would be mighty neat.
- Chizik seems to be leaning towards Scales as the number one runningback going into the Kent State game. That's a little disheartening at this point, as I was expecting bigger things from Jamicah.
- The AmesTrib has a nice story on Rashawn Parker, a guy that we need to help out big time on the D-line this season.
"I wasn't ready," he said. "I really wasn't.
"It started off pretty good, as people know. The Big 12 caught up to me. I wasn't physical enough or strong enough."
Hopefully Shep has worked with Rashawn to get him in shape for the Big 12.
- For Big 12 coverage, I strongly suggest the San Antonio Express-News. They obviously have a Texas university slant to their coverage, but most of the stuff they have is very good. Despite them not knowing that we have new JUCOs in their preview, they dedicated the 15th to the Cyclones (pretty good for a San Antonio paper, I thought) with articles on Blythe and Meyer as well as Chizik. It's almost a shame that a paper in Texas can cover us with a quality (granted, just occasionally) that we can't necessarily expect here in Iowa.
If you like what you read there, I strongly recommend listening to the EDSBS podcast featuring Peter Bean of BurntOrangeNation and Orson Swindle of Every Day Should Be Saturday, as they interview writer Tim Griffin of the SAEN.
- Chris Williams details the recruiting efforts of the men's basketball team, especially for a big man in the '08 class. I really agree with Chris that we need to get a big man, although I'm not sure if two would be necessary. One of Davila and Iverson would be mighty nice.
Chris also discusses commits Dominique Buckley and Wes Eikmeier. I'm really excited for Wes to come in and prove that he can be a spot-up threat that we've been missing for a while.
- My preseason BlogPoll ballot:
- To wrap up my longest post ever, I'd like to welcome Bring On the Cats to the crazy family that is the SBNation, and the even crazier part of that family that covers the Big 12. Check out two extremely kickass posts concerning the Big 12.