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Basketball

MONDAY MUSINGS: No panic for hoops & opinions on the CFP

 Dec 1, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long (15) and guard Monte Morris (11) talk during the second half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Cincinnati won 55-54. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Why I’m not panicking about basketball yet

Real quick before getting to the issues at hand, let’s put Iowa State’s two game losing streak into proper perspective. The losses came to a top 10 and soon-to-be top 25 team by a combined three points. It’s not the end of the world.

Losing the home court non-con winning streak sucks though. 

Iowa State’s problems on offense are fixable. It’s simple actually: The Cyclones just aren’t playing together right now.

Check this out.

Iowa State’s assist-to-field goal ratio (109 to 230 at 47 percent) is down on the year compared to a 52 percent mark during Big 12 play a season ago. (Note the reason why I chose to factor in only Big 12 play from last year is because that team didn’t really start sharing the ball well until January or so, a trend I believe we will see with this one too.)

 When you take away the garbage non-conference games Iowa State played early on and just factor in the last four (Indiana State, Miami, Gonzaga and Cincinnati), that ratio drops all the way down to 33 percent (33 assists on 101 field goals).

Ball reversals. That extra pass. Shot selection. All of that stuff is being pounded into that roster’s head right now and my hope is that a very coachable veteran team will respond to it promptly.

We saw this last year too. Steve Prohm is very hands off with his teams until they show him he needs to step in. The time for that to happen is now.

Dec 1, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm reacts during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Cincinnati won 55-54. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 1, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm reacts during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Cincinnati won 55-54. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

My one worry: In the past, the offense ran through Georges Niang. He was a scorer, but a pass-first guy much of the time. In that sense, Deonte Burton is not Georges Niang. Burton has shown glimpses of greatness this year but not as much consistency as you would like and if he gets the ball at the top of key, you know exactly what is going to happen.

Burton has to change his game a little bit for this to work.

Tonight’s contest vs. Omaha (7 p.m. on Cyclones.tv) should be a nice “get back on track” game leading up to Thursday’s road trip to Iowa.

College football today perfectly summed up in 140 characters

In one tweet, Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel summed up what I spent all of last week week trying to explain on 1460 KXnO.

This, and this reason alone is why I am fatigued of the, “You shouldn’t go to the Playoff if you don’t win your own conference” chatter.

This college football world that we live in has evolved. Especially in the Big Ten, with massively unequal divisions and schedules, simply being named a conference champion isn’t what it was 20 years ago and we have to quit pretending that it does.

That starts with how the committee consistently explaining its criteria as to how teams get into this thing.

I was fine with the four teams that the College Football Playoff selected yesterday. I also would have been fine with Penn State making the cut.

The stupidity of the Coaches Poll

This is an example exactly why I refuse to acknowledge the Coaches Poll…

For one, most of the coaches don’t even vote. It is their sports information directors.

Secondly, just for the sake of conversation, let’s pretend that the coaches are voting. Are we really supposed to believe that these guys have the time to sit around and watch multiple games every weekend?

It’s a joke.

They know their conferences very well and their own teams even better, but that’s it.

Let’s just get rid of the Coaches Poll already.

NEXT SATURDAY: CF vs. HN Toys 4 Tots Event

The Big 12’s bowl slate

Last year, I’m pretty sure that I picked the Big 12 to either go winless or or win just one bowl game. Call me crazy (and I have been way down on the conference all year), but I actually kind of like the league’s bowl slate this time around.

Some first glance, no research predictions for you…

Boise State over Baylor in the Cactus Bowl: With the current state of Baylor’s program, I mean really, why would anybody pick the Bears in this position? Baylor fans need to soak this in though. It’s the last bowl game they will be in for a really long time.

West Virginia over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl: This is one of my favorite matchups on this year’s bowl slate. I feel like West Virginia and Oklahoma State were both undervalued in the Big 12 all season long. Will be fun to watch the Mountaineer defense go head-to-head with Miami’s stud quarterback Brad Kaaya.

Kansas State over Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl: Texas A&M has a lot more talent than Kansas State but team motivation comes into question with this one. I know that Bill Snyder’s boys will be ready to go. I cannot say the same about the Aggies. This one is total toss-up and the fact that Kansas State didn’t beat a team with a winning record all season scares me a little bit. At first glance, give me the Wildcats in this spot based on coaching alone.

Oklahoma State over Colorado in the Alamo Bowl: Had the Cowboys not been robbed in that Central Michigan game in September, they would have been perceived differently all season long. This is a really good team that could be a darkhorse Playoff contender next season.

Georgia over TCU in the Liberty Bowl: In all of college football, there wasn’t a bigger disappointment to me this season than TCU. No way I’m picking them here.

Oklahoma over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl: I’m mostly going off of the fact that Vegas has Oklahoma tabbed as nearly a touchdown favorite here.