Conference tournaments are underway as we move into one of the largest betting events of the year in March Madness. Iowa State basketball has endured a tough season thus far with one game remaining on the schedule against Kansas State. The Cyclones will need a repeat miracle run in the Big 12 Conference Tournament to find their way into the NCAA tournament again.
Reviewing Iowa State’s regular season
Iowa State made a shocking run in the 2019 Big 12 Conference Tournament by beating Kansas in the championship game and clinching an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. It hasn’t been able to build off of that success in the 2019-20 season. The Cyclones currently sit at 12-18 on the season and hold a 5-12 record in Big 12 play, making another championship run look unlikely.
Injuries haven’t helped
Hurting Iowa State even more is the loss of sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton leads the team in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals, but has been declared out for the season with a wrist injury. The Cyclones showed signs of life in a drubbing of Texas after Haliburton’s absence but have dropped four of five since, including a 30-point loss to Texas Tech. Haliburton was the team’s main playmaker and creator on offense, and the Cyclones have struggled to find any resemblance of a replacement. Despite plenty of experience on the court – Iowa State doesn’t have any freshmen averaging more than 4.1 points per game – the Cyclones have failed to mesh this season.
The only win out of conference that passes as a key victory would be the 10-point win over 16th-ranked Seton Hall in December just a week after the Pirates beat Iowa State on a neutral site. Outside of the Texas blowout, the Cyclones have mostly lost every game against superior opponents and managed to squeak out wins against similarly skilled or inferior teams. A loss to a Florida A&M team it was favored to beat by nearly 30 on New Year’s Eve was the low point of the season.
Iowa State (+5000) odds to make the Final Four, (+50000) to win the Championship
As expected for a team that needs a miracle run in the conference tournament to get a chance to participate in the NCAA Tournament, Iowa State has very long odds to make a run deep into March. But even appearing in the odds list and above some teams who would expect to have a better chance to play in the tournament shows that some believe the Cyclones could recapture their magic in the Big 12 Tournament.
An NCAA Tournament without Iowa State has been rare recently. It’s made the tournament in seven of the last eight years, including five runs past the first round. The Cyclones have been a force to be reckoned with in the Big 12 Tournament. They won it in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019 despite never going in with less than six losses in the conference. They were 9-9 in conference play last year before rattling off wins against Baylor, Kansas State and Kansas as the five seed. This year, they’ll be the eight or nine seed and need to win an extra game to stunningly find a spot in March Madness once again.