Williams Blog: Rick Barnes says these Cyclones are better

AMES — The 2012-13 Iowa State Cyclones are better than last year’s group that advanced to the second-round of the NCAA Tournament. That’s according to Texas head coach Rick Barnes at least. 

Barnes’ impression of this current Cyclone squad might be a little skewed though as it came after an 82-62 Iowa State victory over his Longhorns on Saturday in front of a sold out crowd in Hilton Coliseum.

“I think they are a better team this year than they were a year ago,” said Barnes in his postgame press conference. “I just like they way they flow and I really think they do a nice job. They share the ball. I think they do a lot of good things. Fred has done a great job with them.” 

Barnes however has only seen the Cyclones live once this season. Does Fred Hoiberg, the man who works with this roster every day agree with his analysis?

“That’s a heck of a compliment coming from a great coach,” said Iowa State’s head coach. “It’s hard to say. I thought going into the season we would have a chance. We’re starting to see who we can be.”

That is a team that realistically should be 2-0 in the Big 12. If it wasn’t for ‘to foul or not to foul-gate’ that we’ve all endured over the last four days, the Cyclones would have a win in Lawrence under their belt right now.

To say that this Iowa State team is better than last year’s might be a bit of a stretch right now, but it certainly isn’t crazy. As I’ve been saying for six months, this group has the potential to be just that. But… 

“This year’s team doesn’t have Royce (White),” said Hoiberg. “Royce is a guy who could flat out go get you a bucket when you needed one, or make a play to get a guy a shot.”

White did lead the Cyclones in five major statistical categories last season…

“With that being said, I love these guys,” said Hoiberg. “I love how hard they go at it. I love their approach in practice every day. I think it is still yet to be seen but hopefully we can continue to get better.”

Up next is a home date with West Virginia, who on Saturday lost at home to Kansas State 65-64, on Wednesday night at 8 p.m.