CHRISTOPHERSON: Three keys to ISU’s postseason success

Feb 26, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Tyrese Hunter (11) brings the ball up court against Kansas State Wildcats guard Selton Miguel (3) during the second half at Bramlage Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2021-2022 wrapped up on Saturday, I left the Baylor game thinking that this team can have an exciting March.

The benefit this group has of going through Big 12 conference play is invaluable. It is not just that this league is talented, but the style of play is what sets it apart from other leagues.

The physicality, aggression, and relentlessness of Big 12 basketball are why I think you will see the league flourish in the coming weeks.

The Big 12 tournament has all the makings of an iconic weekend for the league with nine teams that are all capable of beating each other and at least six of whom will play beyond this week.

This Cyclone team has had a unique journey this season.

It has been one of the extremes in both high moments and low valleys.

They came out of it with 20 wins and now we ponder what they are capable of this month. What is needed for this team to get hot?

Here are a few thoughts below.

Shooting – When Gabe Kalschuer, Caleb Grill, and Jaz Kunc are making perimeter shots this team can play with anyone in the country. While we do not need any of these three to become volume marksmen from the 3-point line, if collectively they can find a way to knock down five 3’s while shooting better than 33 percent from the floor, this offense will flourish. Look for them to hunt shots where their shoulders are square to the basket, feet are set, and the ball finds them within the rhythm of the offense. When that happens, let it ride gentlemen. 

Rebounding and Rim Protection – The Cyclones defense has been its calling card all season and I look for it to shine brightest in the postseason. Their attention to detail, intensity, and energy should all naturally be enhanced within the setting of elimination play.

Rebounding and rim protection will play a vital role in the outcome of how effective this team’s defensive prowess proves to be. George Conditt and Bob Jones will play a lead role protecting the rim and the Cyclones must get an all-hands-on-deck commitment to relentlessly pursue the basketball from everyone on the court.

Jaden Walker can be an x-factor off the bench, who can make above the rim, game-changing plays when TJ implements his small-ball lineup. It has been said that in post-season baseball every base runner is a rally of its own. In March basketball, every lay-in or dunk has the potential to be the spark that ignites a momentum-changing run. Defensive rebounding and rim protection will be essential for the Clones to ensure the momentum of games swing in their favor.

Our stars must shine brightestThere is no other way to say this, we need Izaiah and Tyrese to have a hell of a run in the next few weeks.

Both players have the potential to be lethal playmakers, dominant defenders, difference-making rebounders, and tone setters. These are our two guys who can dominate their matchups and Iowa State needs them to.

When Tyrese is directing traffic and flirting with double-digit assists everyone on the court immediately becomes a better player. He also possesses the ability to stifle the opposing team’s point guard defensively, something that can take opposing offenses completely out of rhythm and get this team easy points in transition off turnovers.

Izaiah has the rare ability to influence his teammates with his presence and mentality. His mid-range game is second to no one and a way to close out games. However, it is his willingness to ferociously attack the basket and finish at the rim that inspires confidence and swagger throughout the roster.

Both players need to be sharp and if they are, there is not a game this team will play that they are not capable of winning.


Scott Christopherson


Scott played 3 seasons for the Iowa State Cyclones, scoring over 1,000 points and finishing third-team all-conference as a senior while helping lead the Cyclones to the NCAA tournament. In 2012 he graduated from Iowa State with a degree in Finance and currently works in Indirect Lending for BMO Harris Bank and is also pursuing his MBA at St. Thomas University. Scott is passionate about leadership, teaching, and business. When he isn't working, Scott can be found spending time with his wife Kelly and their twin boys, Noah and Isaiah.