At The Watercooler -- Brennan and Medcalf talk college basketball - ESPN






Myron: The big surprise for me was that Iowa State looked like a factor in the Big 12. I'm not going to grant Fred Hoiberg's brainchild "contender" status. But the Cyclones are surging in a league that's open below Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. ISU could steal a couple from the top tier in this league and end up in the tournament.

[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Charlie NeibergallRoyce White is coming off a triple-double and is playing lights-out for a streaking ISU team.



They're on a seven-game winning streak and their past two victories came against Texas and Texas A&M. Hoiberg started his tenure by grabbing transfers who didn't necessarily leave their former schools on good terms. "Red flags," "character issues" and similar tags were attached to a recruiting class that included former Minnesota prep star Royce White (he quit the Gophers via YouTube) and Chris Allen (dismissed from Michigan State).

But Hoiberg looks like a genius right now. His players are not making news off the floor. Iowa State is No. 40 in Pomeroy's adjusted offense ratings. The Cyclones are second in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.15). And they're building momentum at the right time. This team could make the Big 12 even more interesting if it continues to play the way it has lately.

Eamonn: Excellent point. I probably gave up on Iowa State a little too early this season. I expected big things right away but failed to take into account the fact that this team really just started playing together a couple months ago. This was going to take some time to figure out. If the Cyclones are all on the same page going forward, they have the talent to be a disruptive force in the Big 12. Just ask A&M. That was a very impressive road win for Hoiberg's team.