Iowa State is not yet a lock for the NCAA tournament, not when they have an RPI in the 50s, exactly one road win in the top 200, and a trip to West Virginia before a date with Oklahoma in the first round of the Big 12 tournament.
As entertaining as the Cyclones are to watch and as dangerous as they can be when their threes get to dropping, Iowa State is no better than its profile. And while its profile says right now is that they did bupkis in the non-conference and lost to Texas Tech and Texas on the road in league play.
The good news?
After beating No. 13 Oklahoma State 87-76 in Hilton Coliseum on Wednesday night, Fred Hoiberg’s club has finally earned themselves some breathing room. They now can claim wins over three teams in the top 30 in the RPI — the Pokes, Kansas State and Oklahoma — and six total wins against the top 100. They’re not out of the woods yet, but given the fact that there are teams on the bubble right now who have no quality wins, Iowa State should feel pretty good about themselves. I wouldn’t recommend losing the last two games, but they might be able to survive it.
As far as Oklahoma State is concerned, there isn’t anything to worry about. They lost their shot at earning a share of the Big 12 title with a win over Kansas State on Saturday, but they did so by losing in a building that everyone loses in.
Oklahoma State isn’t going to win many games on the nights that Markel Brown, Marcus Smart and Phil Forte shoot a combined 14-44, and they aren’t going to shoot a combined 14-44 too often.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.