Harrington: The Cyclones still have issues to fix


Tyler Coe

Caleb Grill shoots a 3 against Oklahoma State on Feb. 11, 2023.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

With just four games to play in the regular season, the Iowa State men’s basketball team still has missing pieces to the puzzle.

While the battle for NCAA Tournament seeding will be important, working out these issues, such as blowing leads in the second half and shooting inconsistencies, will be even more important in the final four games.

The second half has showcased a handful of disasters for the Cyclones this season, and they have happened, for the most part, away from Hilton Coliseum. From a 23-point lead in a loss to Texas Tech, a 16-point lead in a loss to Oklahoma State and a much smaller, still notable eight-point lead in a loss to Kansas State, the road leads have not been friendly to the Cyclones.

There are a lot of different reasons for these blown leads, one of which is the offense going stagnant.

Caleb Grill has been on-and-off court with a back injury, but poses the biggest threat to shoot the ball on the team. Gabe Kalscheur and Jaren Holmes are both capable shooters; however, Grill’s presence creates space for them to work.

The shortage of shooting cost the Cyclones a chance to win against Kansas State on Saturday, going 5-27 from distance in a 61-55 loss.

If Grill is back to full strength when the postseason comes around, the Cyclones have the potential to make a run.

The problem is that there is a chance Grill does not get back to full strength. This injury has been lingering for over a month now, causing Grill to miss full games and parts of games.

Due to the back being a major part of the shooting form, it will be tough for Grill to get back into peak form.

Iowa State does not need Grill to have success, but he raises the ceiling tremendously.

The key for the Cyclones is not going to be accumulating the best seeding possible; it is going to be cleaning up the things that have been problems all season long.

If the Cyclones can look the best they have this year in the Big 12 Tournament, expect it to carry over to the NCAA Tournament.

The remaining games include a pair of road games against Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma and West Virginia in Hilton Coliseum. Expect the Cyclones to play with the intention of long-term improvement while maintaining the high-scale effort they normally play with.

The first of these games will be the matchup against Texas at 8 p.m. Tuesday.