Preview: Iowa State Cyclones

The Cyclones will once again rely on their offense to carry the team

Updated: October 24, 2013, 10:35 AM ET
By Ken Pomeroy | ESPN Insider

Georges NiangJamie Squire/Getty ImagesGeorges Niang (left) better get used to mixing it up with the likes of Kansas' Naadir Tharpe.

Iowa State Cyclones

2012-13: 23-12 (11-7 Big 12)
In-conference offense: 1.13 points per possession (1st)
In-conference defense: 1.05 points per possession (7th)

Iowa State played with the smallest front line in the Big 12 last season, and not surprisingly, the Cyclones also fielded a below-average defense. They were able to make up for it and then some with one of the best scoring units in the country, one that led the Big 12 in points scored per possession during conference play. Iowa State's tournament efforts were a reflection of its regular-season stats. In each game of the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments, the Cyclones posted a points-per-possession number that was significantly above the average of what each of its opponents allowed during the season.

The culmination of that run was the memorable third-round game in the NCAA tournament against Ohio State during which the Cyclones scored 75 points in 67 possessions, the fifth-most-efficient game surrendered by the Buckeyes in their 37 contests last season. The postgame focus of that contest, though, was an empty trip: the charge called on Will Clyburn with 1:41 remaining. It was controversial because Ohio State's Aaron Craft drew the foul with a foot over the charge circle and because Clyburn's shot went in. Even a no-call would have given Iowa State a three-point lead.

The play got a lot of attention after Ohio State scored on its final two possessions to pull out a three-point win. But deserving of equal discussion was that when a team scores 1.12 points per possession, they should emerge victorious most of the time, even against a team able to score as consistently as Ohio State. Another couple of stops and the missed call wouldn't have made a difference.


To read the complete 2013-14 preview article on Iowa State, plus gain access to previews for every Division I college basketball team, you must be an ESPN Insider.