Jan 5, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm reacts during the first half against the Kansas Jayhawks at Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Almost exactly one month ago, Iowa State men’s basketball was in this same position. The Cyclones had been humbled with back-to-back losses on the road at Baylor then at home to Kansas State.
Staring them straight in the face was a road trip to Texas Tech, who entered that Wednesday night game undefeated in Big 12 action and playing as well as any team in the country. Steve Prohm’s team left Lubbock with a 68-64 win and repositioned themselves near to the top of the league standings.
The Cyclones’ backs are against the wall again coming off a 92-83 home loss to TCU with Big 12 leading Kansas State looming on Saturday afternoon in Manhattan.
“The great thing about this team is the couple of times this year that we’ve been exposed or we’ve been humbled and we’ve faced a tough stretch in our schedule, we’ve responded,” Prohm said on Tuesday. “I expect them to respond this week.”
Iowa State sits in its bye week two games behind the Wildcats in the loss column of the Big 12 standings. Bruce Weber’s team will continue its pursuit of the conference crown on Tuesday when it travels to Austin to take on Texas.
Meanwhile, the Cyclones will be focusing on them after back-to-back off days on Sunday and Monday. They will follow up with another off-day on Wednesday then the focus shifts to the Wildcats on Thursday and Friday.
“Obviously, you wish you were coming off a win. You would probably treat it the same way but your sense of urgency should be raised up a whole notch (on Tuesday),” Prohm said. “I wanted to kind of break it up and then get in so we’re not removed from it too much. I can get on the road some as well. We’ll watch tape today. We’ll go for about an hour and just really kind of break down guarding the dribble and really executing in the half court and then Kansas State will be more of our emphasis Thursday and Friday but today will be about us.”
Prohm noted Iowa State’s defense in the first half of Saturday’s loss to the Horned Frogs probably was not as bad as he initially thought but admitted when things went bad, they went all the way bad. TCU has a good offense but in Hilton Coliseum they looked like the Golden State Warriors lite at times, something that can probably be attributed both to breakdowns on Iowa State’s end and to Jamie Dixon’s squad playing one its best games of the season.
Being humbled going into the bye week gives the players on Iowa State’s roster and the staff time to dial back into the mission at hand — winning a Big 12 championship and rolling into March on a high note. That process starts on Saturday in Manhattan.
“I was frustrated going down to Texas Tech, a little ticked off, kind of had a point to prove,” Prohm said. “I’m kind of back in that mold again and I think we’re the best when we’re like that.”