Give the Cyclones a hand — and a spot in NCAA tournament

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Mark down Iowa State for a spot in the Big Dance. And while you’re at it, give Royce White some conference player of the year consideration. Same goes for Fred Hoiberg as coach of the year.

It’s been that kind of year in Ames.

Neither White nor Hoiberg will win, of course. Not with guys like Thomas Robinson and Marcus Denmon and Frank Haith in the Big 12. But it speaks volumes about how well the Cyclones have played this year that heading to its first NCAA tourney since 2005 is even possible.

A 65-61 win at Kansas State gives the Cyclones (21-8, 11-5 in Big 12) its fourth win against an RPI top 100 team with games remaining at Missouri and at home vs. Baylor. Winning either game would boost their cause even more, but I’d say they’re safe.

At least, they should be.

Iowa State’s won seven of its last nine and has emerged as the fourth-best team in the Big 12, maybe even the third best. This isn’t a down year for the Big 12, either. No lackluster team is this high in the standings. Only teams that belong in the NCAA tournament.

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