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.