Iowa State still has a very good basketball team and its ceiling is still sky-high.
But also know that game-to-game, this 2014-15 group cannot be trusted.
Heading into Saturday’s 78-73 Iowa State loss to previously winless (in the Big 12) Texas Tech, there was literally one storyline leading up to the competition.
Will Iowa State take the Red Raiders seriously? With a Big Monday matchup against Texas looming, this was a classic trap game. How will the Cyclones respond?
Knowing that, with the goal of a regular season Big 12 title fresh on its mind, how exactly was Iowa State so “lackadaisical” on Saturday afternoon?
This isn’t a new problem for this team either.
This group of Cyclones is the breathtaking blonde that you met at a shady college bar near closing time on a Thursday night – so much talent. Somehow, a precarious relationship formed. During this time, you loved showing her off to your friends but wouldn’t dare bring her home to mom.
This girl, while physically a bombshell, could not be trusted on a random Tuesday night. Road trips to Lubbock against the worst team in the Big 12 are Iowa State’s equivalent to that random Tuesday night.
"We get amped up against Kansas, but when we play Texas Tech, it’s not the same outcome," Monte Morris told the Des Moines Register after the game. "We saw ‘Tech’ across their jersey and took them for granted. That’s all it was. They gave it their best shot."
That’s the type of quote that makes a fan sick.
There is so much potential here but Iowa State isn’t good enough to just show up, go through the motions and beat Big 12 teams on the road. That attitude won’t win a Big 12 championship.
Think back to every loss that Iowa State has suffered this season. This type of verbiage is what has come out of the locker room every time. It’s maddening. Time and time again, the Cyclones have claimed to have learned from their mistakes but slow starts continue to haunt the most talented team of the Fred Hoiberg era.
The sky isn’t falling. In fact, I’d be willing to bet you that Iowa State will upset somebody like Kansas or Texas on the road this season. This team loves the bright lights and with its back against the wall, I think Iowa State will come out swinging.
Also, it’s impossible to ignore Hoiberg’s track record when it comes to getting his teams to peak at the absolute perfect time. It’s happened every year.
Remember when Kansas lost at TCU in 2013? That TCU team was one of the worst in the modern era of Big 12 basketball. Kansas still won the Big 12.
And Iowa State still can too, but the road to those green pastures just got a heck of a lot rockier, especially when you consider that Kansas already has road wins at Baylor and Texas.
Let’s hope that this time, Iowa State really has learned from its mistakes.