Dohnal: Cyclone men’s basketball has a lot to be proud of


Jacob Rice

Tamin Lipsey attempts to create space between himself and Joseph Yesufu at the 2023 Big 12 Tournament Semifinals versus Kansas in the T-Mobile Center, Mar. 10.

Hailey Dohnal, Assistant Sports Editor

Welcome to March. Where literally anything can happen. Well, at least in the basketball world that is. 

If you’ve been following the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, you may have seen teams like No. 1-seeded Purdue fall to a No. 16 seed or the Kansas Jayhawks, the defending national champions, losing in just the second round. 

Another team that faced an upset? No. 6 Iowa State losing to No. 11 Pitt in the first round. 

As many know, March Madness is full of ups and downs, and personally, I believe that’s what makes it fun and enjoyable to watch. 

Nonetheless, as the Cyclones are no longer in the tournament, I feel it is time to reflect on the season they had and what there is to look forward to for next season. 

After making a Sweet 16 run in the tournament last year, fans had high expectations for how Iowa State would perform in the 2022-23 season. Many expected them to make a big run again in the tournament and maybe even make it farther than last year. 

Before the basketball season even began, questions soared to the players and head coach T.J. Otzelberger about if they faced any pressure for wanting to have another successful season. 

Otzelberger and his team made it clear that they were not focused on last year and would only focus on the tasks right in front of them.

The Cyclones would go on to have not a terrible season per se, but one that wasn’t as great as the season before. 

Iowa State finished the 2022-23 season with a 19-14 overall record compared to its 22-13 record in the 2021-22 season. 

Nonetheless, the Cyclones had great successes this year, such as losing just three home games and beating eight top-25 teams. 

Their struggles came from road games, where they only won three, and sometimes played in ways where they didn’t seem like themselves. 

However, after going on a four-game losing streak and the dismissal of Caleb Grill, the Cyclones seemed to find their groove as they went on to beat Baylor back-to-back. 

Yet, they would lose to Kansas in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament, and while they went on to go dancing in the NCAA tournament, they would lose in the first round. 

That’s just how things go sometimes. That’s life, right? 

While it may be frustrating for some that Iowa State didn’t make a magical run like last year, just two seasons ago they only won two games with neither of them being on the road. They truly have come a long way and found so much success within two seasons. 

Furthermore, Iowa State has a lot to look forward to. In the 2023-24 season, they will welcome in four new recruits with one of them being five-star Omaha Biliew. 

This team has come to show that they are not going to give up and will always strive to become a better version of themselves. They used the 2022-23 season to find themselves and connect, and that will be something that will continue for years to come. 

So, while they may not have had the season they wanted, there are definitely things for the team to be proud of and definitely a lot to look forward to.