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Basketball

MID-WEEK MAILBAG: Concerns about Wigginton and off-topic extravaganza

I couldn’t believe it when Chris Williams stormed into my apartment and bashed me over the head with a metal folding chair just so he could write last week’s Mid-Week Mailbag. It’s safe to say there’s been too much WWE on TV in the Williams house lately.

Thankfully, I’ve emerged from my coma and Chris is nowhere in sight, so that means things are back to normal around here.

With football season over and Iowa State basketball coming off a close loss to Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse, the questions for this week’s mailbag swung heavily into the off-topic category. Don’t worry – I’ll still address what seems to be everyone’s main concern about the basketball team to kick things off, but after that this will turn into more of a fun read than an informative one. Prepare accordingly.

Psiclone (forums) asks: Lindell Wigginton is clearly struggling on offense with his outside shot and forcing shots on driving. He has said that his hands get cold when sitting at start of games, and Prohm has repeatedly said the team needs Wigg to be playing well to achieve its potential. Is it time to at least start him in a game to see if that helps to get his rhythm back?

Miller_Cy_Life (forums) asks: At what point does Lindell’s play affect his draft stock to the point that he comes back next year?

Jan 21, 2019; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward Dedric Lawson (1) and Iowa State Cyclones guard Lindell Wigginton (5) dive for a loose ball in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Lindell Wigginton roller coaster has not been a fun one to ride in or watch so far this year.

Kirk Haaland’s column from last week touched on his play prior to the Oklahoma State and Kansas games. It’s certainly seemed like Wigginton has been worse overall than he was last year, mostly due to shooting a poorer percentage from the field, but he’s actually bumped up his counting stats and decreased his turnovers despite the underwhelming performance on Monday night.

Still, to follow up arguably his best outing of the year (against OSU) with a complete dud against Kansas was disheartening. He looked out of sync and played badly enough that it inspired many fans to bring up the age-old question of whether he’s playing for himself or the team.

I’ll admit – I wonder if the NBA hype coming off of Wigginton’s freshman season has influenced his mindset in a bad way. It’s still easy to see that he has immense talent and potential on offense especially, but my guess is that all off-season he’s been told that he needs to prove that he can continue to turn that potential into production. And it’s much harder to show up on the stat sheet this year compared to last year thanks to an influx of talent via transfers and freshmen.

Last year, Lindell HAD to be “the guy” simply due to the state of the team. Injuries and roster deficiencies thrust him into a huge role out of necessity. This year, that isn’t needed. He doesn’t need to go out and drop 20 points for Iowa State to win games. To top off the shift in utilization, sitting out nearly the entire non-conference schedule with an injury has made getting back into the swing of things even tougher.

Which brings up the question of the hour – would simply inserting Wigginton back into the starting lineup get him back to performing how we all expected him to this season?

I want to go ahead and say that the “cold hands” thing sounds like the excuse of a struggling player. If that’s truly an issue, then Prohm would never want to take Wigginton out of a game for a breather either because his hands would “get cold.” Sure, all players are different, but having a gap between warm-ups and playing time didn’t stop Tyrus McGee from coming in and raining 3-pointers down from the rafters of Hilton Coliseum.

However, I do see there being value in starting Wigginton for other reasons. Namely, it could be a big confidence boost, and confidence goes a long way in basketball. Thus, I say why not go ahead and throw him into the starting lineup for the Big 12/SEC Challenge game against Ole Miss on Saturday? There’s not much to lose in that matchup, so give it a shot!

Hopefully that would be all it takes to get Wigginton back on track. Because if he plays the remainder of the season at his current trajectory, he’s definitely going to be coming back to Ames for his junior season. There’s no doubt in my mind that scouts have written down things like “out of control” and “still too raw” in the cons column of their reports this year. Wigginton will need to prove he can be a star while playing within the flow of Iowa State’s offense if he wants to get back into 1st round draft pick consideration by year’s end.

Cardinal and Gold (forums) asks: When can the Big 12 expect to receive a $25,000 check from West Virginia for storming the court? Or are their fans considered professional stormers? What credentials must a fan base have to be considered professional sporting event stormers?

You know what the difference is? As much as we love to hate him, Bill Self isn’t a whiner. And the other team storming the court/field on him isn’t something he’s not used to. That’s why West Virginia won’t be fined for storming the court after they beat the Jayhawks on Saturday.

Hopefully fan bases in the American Athletic Conference have made the necessary preparations for Dana Holgorsen’s arrival in Houston. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Dana is mighty squeaky. Storm the field against Houston at your own risk.

Gunnerclone (forums) asks: Worse forum hot takes – ISU basketball losses or winter weather forecasting?

At this point I’m used to seeing fans melt down after losses. Sometimes seeing the levels of outrage/sadness can be embarrassing, but that happens to every fan base that chooses to tie their emotions to the performance of a sports team.

Honestly, I tend to think the people who get outraged at the forecast and meteorologists who make them are worse. It’s not hard to understand that predicting the weather is hard. Yet, people still treat meteorologists like they’re doofuses who sit around a computer all day putting random blobs of color over a map in Microsoft Paint.

I’m no meteorologist, but I look at predicting the weather this way…

Predicting the weather is like predicting the outcome of a sporting event. There are patterns (past games) and data (stats) that meteorologists (sports analysts) can use to make educated guesses about the outcome of an upcoming storm system (game). They can usually put out a pretty good forecast (prediction) a week or two ahead of time. However, there are variables that may change (injury to a key player) between the initial forecast and the day of the storm that cause the forecast (prediction) to change. And DESPITE all of the patterns/data/stats, things don’t always go as planned because the storm (game) is constantly evolving in real time. And that’s when surprises (upsets) happen.

More often than not, meteorologists get things right. Just like more often than not, sports analysts make correct predictions for the outcome of a game. Things may not go EXACTLY how they said things would happen, but usually it’s within the ballpark.

Bottom line? Y’all need to give meteorologists a break. They do good work.

Bret44 (forums) asks: Andrew Skoglund vs. Tyler Ellerman in a Cage Match. Who ya got?

I’m a big Tyler Ellerman fan, but I have to give the edge to Andrew Skoglund in this one. Ellerman comes in at 6-foot-8, 240 pounds and Skoglund at 7-foot-1, 260 pounds. That means Skoglund holds the decisive advantage in both reach and weight.

Plus, Skoglund had to go up against Jared Homan every day at practice. That’s how you know he’s prepared to win a cage match.

Triggermv (forums) asks: What is your favorite movie of 2018?

Keep in mind I haven’t seen EVERY movie from 2018, but I think the one I had the most fun/connection with while watching in the theater was the one about Fred Rogers – Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on TV and that movie brought back a flood of memories while also introducing things I didn’t know about Rogers outside of the show. He was truly one-of-a-kind and there was no doubt he “walked the walk” in his daily life with the values that he tried to teach kids through television.

With the state of the world today, I highly recommend watching Won’t You Be My Neighbor? to anyone who is sick of the lack of love in the world.

Cyched (forums) asks: What are you doing to help with the cheese surplus?

Instead of eating cereal in the morning, I cut up a block of cheese into small cubes, then pour some nacho cheese over the cheese cubes and eat that with a spoon.

Just doing my part.

cycopath25 (forums) asks: Is Bebe Rexha hot? Yes or No? Settle this debate.

Link to Bebe Rexha Google image search for reference.

“Hot” is relative. Is Bebe Rexha hot relative to the general population? Yes. Is Bebe Rexha hot relative to other females in the entertainment industry? Probably not.

No matter whether you think she’s hot or not, the fact that the fashion industry thinks she’s too big is preposterous. Talk about a bunch of stuck-up elitists.

For finality, my answer is yes – she’s hot. I may also be saying that just to spite the fashion industry though. Yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. Fashion Industry guy who reads the Mid-Week Mailbag every week.

BCClone (forums) asks: If you could compete on any TV game show, what would it be? And why that one?

My wife and I are big fans of Survivor and if that qualifies as a game show, that would be my choice. However, I think it is technically considered a reality TV show, so I’ll limit my answer to traditional game shows.

Wheel of Fortune is intriguing because it seems easy but I could totally see myself spinning 2-3 bankrupts and leaving with the token $1,000 they give to people who don’t win anything from the wheel. I’m not smart enough for Jeopardy! and The Price is Right is way too random with the bidding and games for me to go into it feeling confident.

My pick would have to be Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? but in the era of Regis Philbin as host (every version after has been trash). 25% chance of getting every answer right at worst and if I get lucky I could win a lot more than I’d win on other game shows.

MLawrence (forums) asks: A young Fitzy received a letter from the owl post stating that he has been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. What house will the sorting hat place you in, and how will you spend the next 7 years?

Nerd alert: I’ve taken the sorting hat quiz on Pottermore and was sorted into Hufflepuff. I can’t really argue that official decision even if Hufflepuff is probably considered the most unexciting house at Hogwarts.

My goal at Hogwarts would be to become the best Quidditch Beater of all time. Seekers get all of the press, but my Beater skills would become legendary. I’d be so good that I’d soon have every member of the opposing team off their broomstick during every game with my expert bludger hitting abilities. I’d revolutionize the sport. They’d write songs about me.

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