Osunniyi expects Hilton to be loud for season opener against IUPUI


Collin Maguire

Iowa State forwards Robert Jones (left) and Aljaz Kunc (right) walk off the court after beating the University of Missouri 67-50 Jan. 29.

Iowa State men’s basketball season is set to begin Monday, with the Cyclones taking on a team that struggled in the previous season, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

IUPUI is coming off a historically bad season, finishing with only three wins over Spalding, East-West and Robert Morris. The 3-26 season is as much of a low point as it gets, but as Iowa State saw last season, massive turnarounds are possible.

The Jaguars have one exhibition to base the expectations around: a 101-60 win over Brescia, an NAIA school.

Despite the 101 points, there was not one standout player for the team, as DJ Jackson led with 16 points. Five Jaguars scored 10 or more points, and eight scored seven or more.

For the Cyclones, this game will likely be used more as an opportunity to try out several different lineups rather than racking up as big of a win as possible.

With all of the newcomers arriving, Otzelberger plans to see as many different combinations as he can in the early season.

Aljaž Kunc would not reveal any of the lineup people can expect to see from the Cyclones Monday.

“You’re going to have to come to the game to find out,” Kunc said. “It’s going to take a little time to get adjusted.”

The Cyclones feel that being at home for the season opener can help them shake off the early season rust. Osun Osunniyi said that he has heard great things about the Hilton Coliseum crowd and is ready to see it in action.

“I’ve had people tell me yesterday at the [women’s basketball] game, ‘wait till Monday, it’s going to be rocking in here,’ people saying when it gets packed in there that the floor’s going to shake,” Osunniyi said. “It’s a good thing to have nerves like that.”

The game is set to begin at 7 p.m. Monday and will be streamed on ESPN+.