Iowa State faces Baylor once again in the Big 12 tournament


Tyler Coe

Gabe Kalscheur celebrates after a West Virginia offensive foul on Feb. 27, 2023.

Tournament season has arrived, and the Iowa State men’s basketball team is taking its talents to Kansas City, Missouri, to partake in the Big 12 Tournament.

“With our heart and our determination…we’re definitely headed to the Big 12 with hunger,” Gabe Kalscheur said.

The Cyclones are coming off of a hot win after beating Baylor 73-58 on the road and earning themselves a first-round bye in the tournament.

Iowa State has beaten Baylor twice this season and will get an opportunity to beat them for a third time, as the two will play each other again to begin their tournament play.

Iowa State is a five seed in the Big 12 bracket, with Baylor at a four seed.

“We have a lot of respect for their program,” Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger said following the team’s win Saturday.

Otzelberger continued to praise the depth that his team has. In the recent game against Baylor, Iowa State had a different starting lineup than their usual five, and Otzelberger also gave every player a chance on the court.

“There’s no better way to get everybody playing for each other than to get everybody in the game and to feel that energy and that enthusiasm,” Otzelberger said.

Therefore, all 11 Cyclone players may continue to get more minutes on the court throughout the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments.

Kalscheur said postgame that the team was “hungry for a win,” while Tre King said the team talked about what sets them apart from other teams in the Big 12.

“Our ability to do the hard things and being the best at doing this [is what separates us],” King said.

Big 12 basketball has been said to be one of, if not the best, leagues in the country. Nonetheless, the Cyclones have played every team in the Big 12 this season and know what each team is capable of bringing to the court.

“There’s no other league that has as good of coaches, good of players, good of programs, and so you’ve got to be at your best every single game,” Otzelberger said. “There’s no night off; there’s no time to catch your breath.”

Additionally, Otzelberger said that with the team recently “not being at their best,” the win over Baylor helped show them who they can be as the season continues.

“We’re excited to go embrace this tournament,” Otzelberger said.

Iowa State and Baylor will tip-off at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. If the Cyclones win, they will play the winner of No. 1 seed Kansas and Texas Tech/West Virginia at 6 p.m Friday. The winner of Texas Tech and West Virginia will play Kansas. Both of the games can be found on ESPN2.

Should Iowa State make the championship game, they will play at 5 p.m. Saturday on ESPN.

“Anything can happen; it’s March,” Jaren Holmes said. “This game is beautiful because anybody can win on any given day.”