Did I see what I just saw? I went up to Ames thinking we'd be in for an Iowa State win by 1-2 possessions, maybe double digits of things went well.... And then the game happened. I've seen more than a handful of games over the last few years that I thought would be a game, and ISU got blown out, but can't remember when I saw the flipside of that. Anyhow, nice to be surprised in a good way!
What I saw was a much less sloppy team from Iowa State today. The team just looked more crisp on both ends of the floor, and I found myself scratching my head much less than during the exhibition game. They ran some offensive sets, and played some solid man-to-man defense. I haven't seen Iowa State play defense with that the kind of urgency since I don't know when. Guys were literally in their opponent's faces, and really the only wide open shots Drake got were some 3 balls. There were a good string of possessions where Drake either couldn't get a shot off, or got one off in the knick of time with a hand in their face.
I also haven't seen better ball movement from a Cyclone team as well. I thought Iowa State controlled the tempo of the game, didn't force too many (although there are always some) silly shots, and took what the Drake defense gave them. They played good team basketball, played hard, and got the W.
Also what was encouraging was Iowa State getting to a 24 point lead at the half, despite shooting 4 of 16 from beyond the arc. Previously we saw Iowa State doing well due to great 3 point shooting. Overall on the day, they shot 36% which is a bit more "realistic" I suppose, and they were able to do most of their scoring and lead building based on high percentage 2 point baskets. Scott Christopherson going 11 for 11 and scoring 29 points in 30 minutes was crazy good, but even if you take that way, it still was a convincing win.
As far as what I think it all means down the road, time will tell. Is Iowa State better than I thought? Possibly. Or did they just have a crazy good game? That's a possibility too. Either way, as a fan, it was a lot of fun to watch, and am hoping they can bring that same fire to the Well on Sunday against Creighton. I'm not going to get too high or too low from one game, but I know this team has improved a ton and those guys are getting confidence. Hopefully the team can take this and build on it as there is a long way to go yet.