Cyclones continue push for top-spot in Big 12


Tyler Coe

Gabe Kalscheur flexes his muscles after Texas calls a second half timeout on Jan. 17, 2023.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

The race atop the Big 12 is heating up. The Cyclones hold a 5-1 Big 12 record, placing them in a tie with Kansas and Kansas State.

While things have gone well for Iowa State thus far, there are no easy matchups in the Big 12 this season. 

Iowa State will hit the road to take on Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Cowboys have a 10-8 record on the season, including a 2-4 record in conference play.

Similarly to Iowa State, Oklahoma State has got the job done this season due to its defense. The Cowboys average 62.1 points against, covering up for the 68.2 points scored per game. 

The Cyclones, who are considered to be one of the better defensive teams in the country, average 58.5 points against.

Head coach T.J. Otzelberger had high praise for the Oklahoma State defense, saying defenses do not get much stronger than this one.

“As good of a defense, probably as we’ll play against,” Otzelberger said. “We have success when we get stops, and then play off that energy.”

Oklahoma State is similar to the Cyclone defense in the fact that it is the defensive fundamentals and work habits that have got the team to this point.

“Across the board, they do a really good job rotating and contesting at the rim,” Otzelberger said. “From an analytics standpoint, because of their length, they guard the three well, and because of their rotations, they protect the rim well.”

The key catalyst to Iowa State’s success during Big 12 play has been the scoring presence of Gabe Kalscheur. Over the six games of Big 12 play, Kalscheur leads the scoring with 18.5 points per game. In this span, Kalscheur is shooting 50% from the field and 46.3% from three.

Kalscheur’s strong shooting has opened up the offense for everyone else, as the Cyclones have been able to find an offensive rhythm.

Oklahoma State is one of the more balanced scoring offenses in college basketball, with five different players over 8.0 points per game, with no players hitting the 12.0 point per game mark.

The leading scorer for the Cowboys, Bryce Thompson, averages 11.9 points per game on 38.9% shooting. While Thompson does not have great shooting numbers from the field, it is made up for by 40% shooting from the three-point line.

The game is set to tip-off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and will be aired on ESPN+.