Basketball

GREATEST MBB GAME BRACKET: Hoiberg Region

Alright, this is going to be a quicker article than the first three because I’m a little shorter on time and I’m excited to just get the voting going, which I’ll explain fully in a second.

Obviously, this article will be focused on the greatest Iowa State men’s basketball games of the 1990s. The list of games and seedings were compiled by CF stat guru Kirk Haaland, so all complaints can be sent his way.

You check out the first three installments of our bracket with the 1980s here, 2000s here and 2010s here. The voting is at the bottom of the page and has already begun, so cast your ballot as soon as you want.

First-round voting comes to an end on Friday, March 27, at 7:00 a.m. with the second-round starting immediately after and running through the weekend.

Here are the 16 games from the 1990s.

#1 – No. 23 Iowa State 56, No. 5 Kansas 55 – March 10, 1996

After a narrow miss in 1995, the Cyclones break through to win their first postseason conference tournament title in the Big Eight’s final season.

Led by 20 points from Tournament MOP Dedric Willoughby, plus 20 points and 11 rebounds from Kenny Pratt, the Cyclones punched their automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament after Jacque Vaughn’s last-second layup corralled off the front of the rim, sending Kemper Arena into a cardinal and gold frenzy.

#2 – Iowa State 67, No. 10 Cincinnati 66 – March 15, 1997

Sixth-seeded Iowa State advances to the program’s second Sweet 16, and its first since 1986, when Damon Flint’s running jumper over Jacy Holloway with six seconds left falls off the front of the rim. Kenny Pratt led the Cyclones with 21 points, including his second made 3-pointer of the season, which gave Iowa State a 63-58 lead over Bob Huggins’ squad with four minutes to play.

#3 – Iowa State 84, No. 2 Oklahoma State 83 (OT) – Feb. 15, 1992

Iowa State bounces back from an 18-point halftime deficit and trailing by seven in overtime to take its first lead of the day on an and-one layup from freshman guard Fred Hoiberg with nine seconds left. The win was sealed with a pair of missed free throws, forced by a raucous Hilton Coliseum crowd, from Cowboy guard Darwyn Alexander on the following possession.

#4 – Iowa State 80, No. 2 Kansas 72 (OT) – March 11, 1995

Hurl Beechum knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in overtime and scored 25 points to lead Iowa State into the program’s third Big Eight final and first since 1986. Loren Meyer also added 20 points of his own to help the Cyclones earn a date with Oklahoma State and Bryant “Big Country” Reeves in the tournament final.

#5 – No. 23 Iowa State 69, No. 3 Kansas 65 – Jan. 14, 1995

The Cyclones picked up the first signature win of the Tim Floyd era in Ames behind 32 points from Fred Hoiberg. The most impressive part of The Mayor’s performance was scoring 17 straight in the second half to give Iowa State control.

#6 – Iowa State 70, No. 3 Kansas 66 – March 4, 1992

The Cyclones record the first of what eventually became a 21-game winning streak at Hilton Coliseum stretching until December 1993. It also marked Iowa State’s first win over the Jayhawks in seven tries, a stretch that dated back to 1989.

#7 – No. 17 Iowa State 74, California 64 – March 14, 1996

Iowa State held off a fierce rally from the Golden Bears and national freshman of the year Shareef Abdur-Rahim to record its then school-record 24th win of the season and advance to the second round. Dedric Willoughby led the Cyclones with 23 points while Kelvin Cato added 11 points, eight rebounds and five blocks despite sitting out for 12 minutes with four fouls.

#8 – No. 18 Iowa State 69, Illinois St. 57 – March 13, 1997

Kelvin Cato scored a career-high 29 points along with grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking a Midwest Region-record eight shots to lead Iowa State into the round of 32 for the third straight season. Dedric Willoughby also added 21 points and Jacy Holloway dished out nine assists while playing all 40 minutes.

#9 – Iowa State 76, Minnesota 73 – Jan. 4, 1992

Minnesota threw the ball off the scoreboard above the court, no, I’m not kidding, at Williams Arena, setting up a final play for Iowa State under their own basket, which ended up as an and-one tip-in layup by Justus Thigpen with less than two seconds left on the clock.

#10 – No. 23 Iowa State 57, Missouri 53 – March 3, 1996

Iowa State advances to the Big Eight Tournament final behind 25 points from Dedric Willoughby and sets up a showdown with Kansas for an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps the best part of this game was a controversial foul call late prompting Norm Stewart to say in the postgame press conference, according to the Des Moines Register, “Oh hell’s fire, look at the box score.” I have no clue what that means, but I would love to hear a coach say it in 2020.

#11 – Iowa State 67, Colorado 66 – March 3, 1993

Justus Thigpen hit a running, literally, 3-pointer at the buzzer to end Iowa State’s 14-game Big Eight road losing streak. Seriously, just watch this shot. Unbelievable.

#12 – No. 13 Iowa State 65, No. 19 Colorado 54 – Feb. 26, 1997

Coming off a two-game losing streak, the Cyclones more or less locked up their bid in the 1997 NCAA Tournament and clinched the first 10-win conference season in school history. Kenny Pratt led the Cyclones with 17 points as they out-dueled the Buffalos, who were led by future NBA champion Chauncey Billups.

#13 – Iowa State 75, No. 7 Kansas 71 – Feb. 22, 1993

Iowa State knocked off Kansas for the eighth time in 10 tries at Hilton Coliseum, prompting the Cyclones’ star center Loren Meyer to pull himself up and sit on the rim as the crowd mobbed the hallowed arena’s playing surface.

“This is the eighth time we’ve beat them here in the last 10 years,” Johnny Orr said after the game, according to the Des Moines Register. “They’ve beat us 10 out of 10 times there and that’s not so good.”

Johnny Orr was the greatest. This was also Iowa State’s 15th consecutive home win, included 21 lead changes and never saw a team lead by more than six points.

#14 – Iowa State 68, #12 Oklahoma State 67 – March 2, 1991

Iowa State scored 11 unanswered points in the final 3:57 to knock Oklahoma State out of first place in the Big Eight behind 18 points and seven rebounds from Victor Alexander in his final game at Hilton Coliseum.

#15 – Iowa State 98, #16 Iowa 84 – Dec. 14, 1991

Iowa State snapped a three-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes and recorded their first win in the series since the thrilling 1987 matchup. Justus Thigpen led a young and inexperienced group Cyclones with 28 points to top Iowa despite Acie Earl pouring in 32 points for the black and gold.

#16 – No. 14 Iowa State 64, No. 20 Texas Tech 61 – Jan. 25, 1997

Kelvin Cato recorded 18 points and eight blocks, which made him the program’s all-time leader in blocked shots, as the Cyclones ended Texas Tech’s conference road win streak at 10. The highlight of the game came as Jacy Holloway recorded a rebound on a one-and-one, drew a charge and made a turnover-saving pass to prevent the ball from going into the backcourt with less than 10 seconds to go.


Alright, there we have it. The last of our 64 games. If you missed any of the first three regions, check out the links at the top. Actually, I’ll like them again for you right here.

*** Grayer Region (1980s)

*** Fizer Region (2000s)

*** Niang Region (2010s)

Now, happy voting!

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared is in his seventh year covering Iowa State football and basketball for Cyclone Fanatic. He worked as the site's intern for three years while studying Journalism in Iowa State's Greenlee School of Journalism. He started as a full-time staff writer in May 2016. He took over as the site's managing editor in January 2020. Jared spent five falls covering Iowa high school football as a reporter for KMA Radio, 1460 KXNO and 1430 KASI.