No. 11 Cyclones search for road win against West Virginia


Tyler Coe

Osun Ossuniyi celebrates a layup against Kansas on Feb. 4, 2023.

After a home win against Kansas, the Iowa State men’s basketball team jumped up two spots in this week’s AP Poll and is now ranked No. 11.

Iowa State will take that ranking to Morgantown, West Virginia, where they will take on the Mountaineers Wednesday night.

T.J. Otzelberger and his players have struggled on the road this season, winning just two of seven road games so far.

However, those five road losses have only come down to a few possessions.

The Mountaineers have a 14-9 overall record but are 3-7 in conference play. They will face the Cyclones coming off of a 93-61 win over Oklahoma.

“They’re playing great,” Otzelberger said. “They’ve played a very challenging schedule so when you look at the losses, that’s certainly a part of it.”

Additionally, Otzelberger said the Mountaineers pride themselves on being the aggressor and creating ball pressure.

“We know that we’re going to have to play really well to be successful there,” Otzelberger said.

A focus the Cyclones have had this season is being the best at “effort based things” such as grabbing rebounds and getting second chance points.

“It’s something we demand everyday,” Otzelberger said. “It’s something our guys take a lot of pride in. They call themselves the ‘crash crew’ which is all the guys getting to the boards and getting us those second chance opportunities.”

According to Otzelberger, West Virginia plays at a very high level and has come out with some big wins so far this season.

Moreover, Erik Stevenson has been one of the top players for the Mountaineers. Stevenson grabbed a season high Saturday with 34 points.

“What we need to do is do a great job being intentional and not letting him [Stevenson] be comfortable,” Otzelberger said.

In their game against Kansas, the Cyclones welcomed back teammate Aljaz Kunc after he was out with a broken finger. Kunc only played 11 minutes and did not score, but Otzelberger said as the season progresses, they will continue to do what is best for Kunc and his health.

“For us, there’s gotta be a stubborn, tough grit to say ‘alright these last few games on the road, you know, a play this way, a play that way, we would’ve been able to be successful,” Otzelberger said. “And now we’re going to go execute and do that and make sure that we’re on the winning side of the ledge.”

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday and can be viewed on ESPN2.