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Iowa State Daily

Markovic: Where do the Cyclones go from here?

Bill+Fennelly+at+the+Iowa+State+vs.+Oklahoma+game+in+Hilton+Coliseum%2C+Feb.+10%2C+2024.
Elizabeth Lane
Bill Fennelly at the Iowa State vs. Oklahoma game in Hilton Coliseum, Feb. 10, 2024.

After dropping its game to No. 5 Texas on the road in potentially the last matchup that Iowa State has with the Longhorns, the team sits yet again this season with the question of “Where do we go from here?”

It will be the second time this conference season that the Cyclones pick up a huge home win and look like they could turn the course of their season around but then they go on the road, finding themselves back to square one.

It happened after Iowa State’s win over Oklahoma State and now with its upset win over then-No. 7 Kansas State. Now to be fair, after the game against the Wildcats, the Cyclones had to travel to Austin, Texas, to face No. 5 Texas after going into double overtime with Kansas State.

Now Iowa State travels to Houston to take on the Houston Cougars, who have not had the best of luck in the first season in the Big 12. But the same was said when the Cyclones traveled down to Orlando, Florida, to take on UCF, and Iowa State ended up losing its first-ever matchup with the Knights.

At a key point in the Cyclones’ season, where these final four games could make a difference for their plans in March, there is little room for error, especially playing in this conference.

While it may be unlikely that Iowa State will go into the Big 12 Tournament and become repeat champions, having a strong finish to the season is crucial for a potential appearance at the big dance.

Iowa State will split its final four games in terms of destination, as it will host BYU on Saturday and Cincinnati to close out the season and travel to face Houston on Wednesday night and No. 10 Kansas State on Feb. 28.

But regardless of what happens next with the regular season coming to an end for this young Iowa State team, there have been a lot of good moments that point to a bright future led by the breakout of center Audi Crooks and forward Addy Brown.

Crooks and Brown are the two Cyclones that average double-digit points per game while grabbing over seven rebounds per game. They have easily established themselves as two of the best freshman players in this conference, and both have had a major impact on a team that is only looking to grow forward for the future.

With a lot of doubt surrounding this young team entering the season after many of the key players left, the Cyclones have shown immense potential to become one of the better young teams in the nation. They were even ranked at one point this season when they earned the No. 24 spot back in mid-January.

As Iowa State travels to Houston for a clash with the Cougars on Wednesday night, the fate of the Cyclones’ season resides in this young team’s fight to end the season on a good note.

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