In the ongoing will-he-or-won't-he-I-guess-he's-actually-leaving-now saga of Mike Anderson, Missouri and Arkansas, there's been a certain amount of comfort for Cyclone fans knowing it is now happening to someone else. Iowa State is finally looking forward to a summer of stability with no major coaching turnover or roster shakeups from the major programs. But should Cyclone fans be happy about Mike Anderson leaving the Big 12?
It's no secret that Anderson has helped bring the Tigers back to some semblance of relevance in major college basketball. It was no small feat to drag that program into the mud, but Quin Snyder did it. Anderson brought his own version of 40 Minutes of Hell up from UAB and installed a system that was tough for other teams to play ball against unless they had the talent or had some mastery of the up tempo system. While Anderson wasn't unbeatable for the Cyclones, the up tempo pace did give Iowa State problems, especially in Columbia. This year, Iowa State suffered badly in Mizzou Arena, because we were trying to essentially run with the Tigers - something they were a lot better at.
At this stage in Cyclone basketball, any upheaval in the Big 12 is a potential place for wins. Teams like Kansas and Texas will always succeed, and A&M will be a tough out, but there will be more room to throw elbows in the middle. Aside from the aforementioned three schools, Iowa State, Kansas State, Mizzou, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech will all have the chance to fight up to the top half of the conference. Each squad is facing its share of issues. Kansas State loses one of the best players in school history. The Tigers are now coachless. I'm not convinced Scott Drew can ever win in Ames, not to mention coach out of a wet paper bag. Oklahoma still has no coach. The Cowboys are consistent if not stagnant, and who knows how long it will take Billy Clyde Gillispie to get his crap together in Lubbock.
Anderson's departure for Arkansas leaves another little bit of upheaval. If Mizzou goes though a major style change, and they very well might, the adjustment period could go throughout the season. In contrast, Iowa State is only losing one reserve and bringing in one of the top recruiting+transfer classes in the nation. The 2011-12 campaign is important, in that Iowa State can reposition themselves as a top team in the Big 12. Sure, there is concern that any new coach that the Tigers bring in could be better, but chances are that Mizzou will struggle in the short term - and that means another opportunity for the Mayor and the Clones to strike while the iron is hot.