Basketball

MAILBAG: Thanksgiving/Advocare Invite Edition

Nov 20, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones starters cheer for their teammates late in the game against the Citadel Bulldogs at James H. Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones beat the Bulldogs 130-63. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

ORLANDO — Greetings from sunny Florida.

Enjoy this special Thanksgiving/Advocare Invitational edition of the CF Mailbag.

Before we take a deep dive into hoops, let’s start off with a festive question from WIB.

WIB writes: Pecan or pumpkin pie? 

CW: I have been writing mailbags on this site for over seven years now and I must say without hesitation that this is the absolute worst question I have ever received. You would have to be a complete nutcase to prefer pecan pie to pumpkin pie. If you prefer pecan pie to pumpkin pie, you cannot be trusted and are likely a horrible person.

WIB, I assume you are a pumpkin pie guy, right?

Next.

Cyclonepride writes: Could you ask Jamie Pollard to change the game time, or at least have him call my in-laws and explain to them that we shouldn’t be having Thanksgiving dinner during the game?

CW: Here’s an idea: How about you grow a pair and tell your in-laws to wait until the conclusion of the game to stuff your faces with turkey? Let’s get our priorities straight here people! You’re a grown man, correct? It isn’t Jamie Pollard’s responsibility to tell your in-laws what time dinner is.

IT’S AFTER THE CLONE GAME!

Sack up dude and go State.

PREVIEW: Five things to know about Indiana State

In all seriousness, something odd about me appreciates sporting events that occur at times when they aren’t supposed to.

It’s why we all love NCAA Tournament week. Who can forget the days of sneaking out of class to check the scores of games in the high school commons?

Bowl games starting at 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon are badass.

I used to love it when NASCAR raced its Daytona “Twin 125’s” in the middle of the day – the Thursday before the 500.

I wouldn’t want Iowa State to play in the heart of Thanksgiving Day every year, but it is kind of neat every once in a while.

Cstrunk writes: Do you think we have improved on defense compared to the last couple of years?

CW: I really do and here’s why: I believe that for the first time in the careers of Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas (I chose to list those guys because they are the four-year seniors on the roster), defense was a priority during October practices.

Nov 20, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Matt Thomas (21) shoots a three pointer over Citadel Bulldogs guard Warren Sledge (5) at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Matt Thomas (21) shoots a three pointer over Citadel Bulldogs guard Warren Sledge (5) at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Steve Prohm entered this season knowing that he had an elite group of offensive players, specifically at guard. He knew that without much work at all, this team would be a top one to three team offensively in the Big 12. The goal (and belief as to what it will take to get to the next level) is to be middle of the road on defense instead of near the cellar.

Because of the extra time that has been spent on defense, there is a feeling around the program that the guys are taking more pride in it than ever before. Defense is mostly about effort. Add it all up and yes, I truly believe Iowa State will be better on that end of the floor than we have seen for some time.

SIXTH MAN: Darrell Bowie’s carving out minutes, production off the bench

Cyclones500 writes: Regardless of bracketing, rank the Advocare field from 1-8. 

CW: I feel like I could easily flip-flop three and four on this ranking, but the rest of the slots I am pretty confident about.

1 – Gonzaga

2 – Iowa State

3 – Florida

4 – Miami

5 – Seton Hall

6 – Stanford

7- Indiana State

8 – Quinnipiac

Tim_redd writes: Full prediction for all tournament games?

CW:

Quarters: Iowa State > Indiana State

Miami > Stanford

Gonzaga > Quinnipiac

Florida > Seton Hall

Semis: Iowa State > Miami

Gonzaga > Florida

Final: Gonzaga > Iowa State

Mj4cy writes: Will Prohm go 9-deep in a meaningful game? Who has surprised you most through 3 games so far?

CW: Yes, I am pretty certain that he will. Let’s take a quick look at the locked in rotation of: Morris, Mitrou-Long, Thomas, Burton, Holden, Bowie and Weiler-Babb. That’s seven there and I am confident that those guys will all play significant minutes consistently. Then there’s Young and Jackson…

Young should get time for two main reasons, the first being the position that he plays. Iowa State’s bigs have gotten into some pretty serious foul trouble early on and with the new NCAA points of emphasis down low, we might as well expect that going forward. He’s also got so much potential that I think Prohm will want him to get that time.

As far as Donovan Jackson goes, listen, you guys haven’t seen anything yet. Prohm is very high on the Iowa Western C.C. product and I promise you, he is going to help Iowa State win games at some point this season.

I’m not sure if Prohm will consistently go 9-deep but absolutely, there will be times where he does.

Biggest surprise? For me it has been Nick Weiler-Babb. I heard all of the preseason talk about how good he had been but couldn’t get his production levels at Arkansas out of my mind. This young man has really come a long way and I’m so excited about his future.

CoKane writes: True or false: Young will replace Holden in the starting lineup by the end of the year.

CW: False.

The fact that Holden is a fifth-year grown man will greatly help his minutes when it comes to February while Young is still a young kid learning about the grind of college basketball. There is a lot of flash with Young and I totally understand why fans are so excited about him (you all should be), but Holden’s experience is going to be his biggest weapon when we get deep into the season. The same can be said for Darrell Bowie as well.

NWICY writes: Turkey deep-fried or baked?

CW: Baked. Having said that though, I’m not sure if I have ever eaten at deep-fried turkey before. Is it any good? We like to serve ham as well and change the game.

cyclonepediaJoe writes: When is the Twisted Vine event you had mentioned?

CW: Thanks for asking and this is a perfect place to end today’s mailbag.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Dec. 10 from 2-5. Cyclone Fanatic, Hawkeye Nation and 1460 KXnO will be hosting our first annual Toys 4 Tots ugly sweater event. Basically, we are going to go Cyclones vs. Hawkeyes and see who can produce more toys for underprivileged kids. I’ll have complete details to all of you guys in the coming days.

Chris Williams

administrator

Chris was hired as Cyclone Fanatic’s publisher in the fall of 2009. He is Iowa State football's postgame show host on the Cyclone Radio Network and can be heard daily from 4-7 on Des Moines' top-rated sports station, 1460 KXnO. Williams, a 2007 graduate of Iowa State’s Greenlee School of Journalism, is the former publisher of the old CycloneNation.com (Scout.com). He has also written for the Des Moines Register, the Ames Tribune, CycloneReport.com and is the former sports director at KMA Radio. When Williams isn’t working, you can usually find him doing something outdoors with his wife Ashley, daughter Camryn, and Golden Retriever Dierks. He enjoys golfing, boating, country music, the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Braves and is passionate about any and all motor sports so finding Williams at a local dirt track is very common.