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Cyclones face tough road test against hungry Cougars

Robert+Jones+urges+the+crowd+to+get+on+their+feet+after+making+four+consecutive+free+throws+against+Houston+at+Hilton+Coliseum+on+Jan.+9%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Robert Jones urges the crowd to get on their feet after making four consecutive free throws against Houston at Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 9, 2023.

After a strong week at home, the Cyclones take to the road again in hopes of toppling another ranked team as they take on No. 20 BYU on Tuesday.

Iowa State jumped into the rankings at No. 24 after a major-upset win over No. 2 Houston at home to start the week. The Cyclones are also coming off a 24-point win over Oklahoma State, which was the first time the Cyclones took down the Cowboys at Hilton Coliseum in the T.J. Otzelberger-era.

The Cyclones will not have the help of Hilton Magic, as they travel to Provo, Utah, to face another newcomer to the Big 12. The last time the Cyclones faced off against BYU was in 2013, when they came out on top in a tight 90-88 win on the road.

In the six meetings between Iowa State and BYU, the Cyclones are undefeated with two of those wins coming at Provo. However, the matchup will prove to be unique in a sense.

Tuesday will be the first time that Iowa State and BYU have taken each other on while both teams are sitting inside the top-25. Not only that, it will be the first time that Otzelberger and BYU head coach Mark Pope have met while being the head coaches of their respective teams. However, it will not be the first meeting between the two coaches.

The last time the two faced off against each other while at their respective schools was in 2012 when Otzelberger was an assistant coach at Iowa State and Pope was an assistant coach at BYU. Otzelberger did face off against BYU in his first season as head coach at UNLV, where the Cougars got the better of him.

Now Otzelberger will look to pick up his first win over BYU as a head coach in the first meeting between the schools in over a decade.

BYU and Iowa State are sitting at the same record (13-3) but BYU has one more loss in the Big 12. The Cougars started their conference play with a loss to Cincinnati at home and followed it up with a road loss to No. 14 Baylor.

Iowa State on the other hand also lost its season opener, although it was on the road to No. 11 Oklahoma. Since then, the Cyclones have defended their home turf twice.

The Cyclones will have a tough test ahead, as they tend to struggle more outside of Hilton Coliseum. Along with that, BYU boasts the second highest scoring offense in the Big 12 and sits around Iowa State in terms of defensive stats.

Iowa State does lead the Big 12 in turnovers forced, which played a big role in the recent wins. The Cyclones forced 20 turnovers against Oklahoma State in a blowout win, which was uncharacteristic for the Cowboys.

The Cyclones will again face a team that does not tend to turn the ball over. If the Cyclones can recreate their signature defensive presence, they could cause issues for a BYU team looking to get back on the right track in conference play.

The two teams will face off at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Provo, Utah. The game will be streamed live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

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