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Iowa State Daily

Iowa State hosts Big 12 juggernaut in No. 4 Baylor

Addy+Brown+high+fives+a+teammate+against+Kansas+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Jan.+3%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Addy Brown high fives a teammate against Kansas at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 3, 2023.

Atop the Big 12 standings, Iowa State has started conference play on the right foot. The Cyclones are 4-0 following a miraculous comeback against No. 24 West Virginia.

Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly said he did not foresee the Big 12 season starting like this for his young squad.

“I thought our [players] came back from Christmas break great,” Fennelly said. “I knew we were ready to start playing. I didn’t know how well we’d play, but so far, we’ve done the things that we need to do.”

The win not only kept the Cyclones tied for first in the conference with No. 12 Kansas State, but extended the winning streak to seven games, putting Iowa State at an 11-4 record. Now, the focus shifts to another tough ranked opponent in No. 4 Baylor.

Baylor suffered its first loss of the season on the road against Kansas the same night Iowa State upset West Virginia. The Bears fell to a 3-1 Big 12 record and are now 14-1 on the season.

Immediately following the game, Baylor traveled from Lawrence, Kansas, to Ames, Iowa, to prepare for the game against Iowa State. Fennelly said the Bears are going to be playing mad, trying to avenge their loss and get back to their winning ways.

“Baylor is the most talented team we’ve played,” Fennelly said. “We went into the week knowing this was going to be, without question, the hardest week up to now.”

Iowa State has won the past two meetings against Baylor but has lost three straight in Ames. With a lot at stake for both teams, this battle between the Cyclones and Bears should be a good one.

This game will be the ultimate test of experience versus youth. Iowa State has five freshmen on its roster to Baylor’s one, while Baylor has six seniors/graduate seniors to Iowa State’s three.

The Bears are one of four teams in the country averaging 80+ points, 40+ rebounds and 20+ assists per game. Though Baylor does not lead any of the major stat categories, the high-level of success and ability to score and defend makes Baylor a threat.

Another threat to the weekend is the weather. With more snow expected right up until game time, Fennelly said he expects the crowd to be smaller than usual and has a method to prepare for that.

“We’re going to treat it almost like a road game,” Fennelly said. “Hopefully the roads will get better, but if not, hunker down and yell at the TV.”

The action between Iowa State and Baylor starts at noon Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. The game can also be streamed on ESPN+.

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    Larry F | Jan 13, 2024 at 11:25 am

    The number 4 team is relegated to extra-cost, poor coverage espn+. Why can’t the big 12 get a real cable deal with a station that is included in our service?

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