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Iowa State Daily

Cyclones kick off 2023-24 season at home against Green Bay

T.J.+Otzelberger+talks+to+the+media+at+Iowa+State+Mens+Basketball+Media+Day+on+Oct.+11%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe*
T.J. Otzelberger talks to the media at Iowa State Men’s Basketball Media Day on Oct. 11, 2023.

The nine new players of the Iowa State men’s basketball team will get their first taste of Hilton when the Cyclones open up their season against Green Bay Monday night.

The combination of the best recruiting class in the T.J. Otzelberger era and another promising transfer portal class headlines a Cyclones roster that also kept key pieces from last season. While the new members of the team have had opportunities in the offseason to learn Otzelbergers’ system and play games on their trip to the Bahamas and most recently in secret scrimmages, this matchup against the Phoenix is their first chance at meaningful basketball.

Through the aforementioned secret scrimmages, one of which was against No. 8 Creighton which the Cyclones allegedly kept close, the coaching staff got a glimpse of what lineups they could potentially run this season.

On both sides of the ball, Otzelberger is aware of his teams’ strengths, but his focus is on bringing those out with the right guys on the floor.

“I think that other things that we learned is with the depth there’s more guys, there’s more combinations and that was important to learn,” Otzelberger said. “In general terms, I think just an understanding of how this team differs from teams we’ve had in the past. There are certain things we’re committed to defensively, but want to play to the strength of our personnel. I think offensively we’ve been more adaptive and again wanting to play to the strength of that personnel as well.”

The Cyclones have added a variety of players with particular strengths that they lacked throughout all of last season. Most notably they’ve added both size and youth with five-star prospect Omaha Biliew and four-star prospect Milan Momcilovic, along with veteran ball-handling guards Curtis Jones and Keshon Gilbert.

Iowa State’s first contest of the season comes against a team that finished last season with three wins and is now coached by Sundance Wicks, who will be making his debut as a head coach in Division I.

The Phoenix returned their top scorer from last season, junior forward Clarence Cummings III, who averaged 10.5 points on 30.5 minutes per game. However, they lost six of their seven top players in terms of points per game. Green Bay will also be without their leaders in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks from last season.

While both teams will be attempting to figure themselves out in this matchup, the recruitment from Otzelberger and his staff has put the Cyclones in a favorable position to start the season off on the right note.

Otzelberger through his first two seasons at Iowa State has dominated against non-conference opponents to the tune of a 24-5 record, with all five losses against fellow power five programs.

The Cyclones will tip off against the Phoenix at 7 p.m. Monday at Hilton Coliseum. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.

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