STANZ MAILBAG: Hoops starting five, best new Big 12 road trips and more

Iowa State University Cyclones head coach T.J. Otzelberger reacts from the side line during the second half against Baylor Bears at Hilton Coliseum Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. Photo by Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune

Welcome to summer.

Schools are out across the state, the weather is quickly heating up and Memorial Day weekend is behind us. Summer is officially here in the state of Iowa.

This feels likely to be a quieter summer on the Iowa State front, but I’m sure there will be plenty going on across college athletics in the coming weeks.

To celebrate the start of summer, I made the call for questions on the Cyclone Fanatic Premium message board.

Let’s ride.

Who you got starting at the start of the MBB season, the start of B12 play, and for the final game of the season?

This is a tough one due to the newfound depth of Iowa State’s backcourt and the unpredictability of T.J. Otzelberger’s frontcourt rotations. It is also hard to predict just how quickly Iowa State will bring along the freshmen.

Omaha Biliew feels like a lock to start from day one. Tamin Lipsey is likely locked into the starting lineup, as well. Keshon Gilbert and Jackson Paveletzke feel most likely to start on the wings, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Milan Momcilovic move into one of those spots as the season progresses.

It wouldn’t shock me at all to see all of Iowa State’s front-court players draw starting assignments at some point during the season. I’ll play it safe and guess Robert Jones will be in the top five for that season opener, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tre King in that spot.

Here are my guesses for the start of the year and the mid-point. I’d be surprised if the starting lineup is different from the mid-point in the last game.

Start of the season: Tamin Lipsey, Keshon Gilbert, Jackson Paveletzke, Omaha Biliew and Robert Jones

Start of Big 12 play: Tamin Lipsey, Keshon Gilbert, Jackson Paveletzke, Omaha Biliew and Tre King

Where do you see Omaha Biliew being picked in the 2024 NBA draft: closer to Marcus Fizer or closer to Tyrese Haliburton?

We’re a long way away from Omaha Biliew’s NBA Draft night, but that hasn’t stopped the prognosticators from already putting together their mock drafts for 2024. Right now, I’m finding Biliew anywhere in the range from pick No. 11 (where Haliburton was picked in 2020) to the high teens.

So, to answer the question, I’d lean toward him being picked in the Haliburton range over the Fizer range. If he does move into the Fizer range (4th overall in 2000), Omaha and Iowa State will have likely had a damn good year.

CW has mentioned in the past that he was your little league coach or something like that. How was he as a coach? Did he bring the orange wedges?

Keep in mind, I was in the first grade when CW was my little league baseball coach, so I’m not sure I had the fully developed perspective to evaluate him as a coach at that point. I don’t remember him being terrible, so that’s a plus.

I think the Bondurant Little League Turtles have significantly benefitted from CW’s early coaching experience. I basically got the USC Steve Sarkisian version of CW while the Turtles get the Alabama OC/Texas head coach version of Sark.

When do Colorado and Arizona join the Big 12?

The rumblings around Colorado’s return to the league continue to grow louder each week. If it does happen, it wouldn’t shock me if there was an announcement within the next month or so, but I’m sure the folks in Boulder will wait to hear what they’re getting from a new Pac-12 deal before anything is done.

Does that domino have to fall before Arizona makes its move? TBD.

What are some of your favorite summer hobbies? Fishing, boating? Pickleball, golf?

There is nothing that compares to the bliss felt while enjoying a cool beverage on a patio in the middle of the summer. I’ll throw playing basketball outside out as my second-favorite thing to do in the summer.

Give me your best guess for kickoff times for the first three football games.

Sept. 2 vs. UNI: 7 p.m. kick on ESPN+

Sept. 9 vs. Iowa: 11 a.m. or 2:30 p.m. on Fox

Sept. 16 vs. Ohio: 11 a.m. on FS1

What are your top-five dog breeds and why?

  1. Puggles – It is what my sweet baby Lolo is. My parents have two of them, and my sister has one. We’re a puggle family through and through.
  2. Corgis – My parents have one and who doesn’t love those short little legs and chubby bellies?
  3. Pugs – Without a doubt, some of the most lovable dogs on the planet.
  4. Golden Retriever – I’m not sure there’s a generally happier animal out there.
  5. Bulldog – I’d never own one, but I love them.

Why will Iowa State beat Iowa in Men’s Basketball this year?

I can’t remember the last time the Cy-Hawk rivalry felt more wide-open on the basketball court than it does right now. I’m not sure either program has the upper hand on the other at the moment.

With that said, Iowa State’s upper hand this year comes in the form of playing the game at Hilton Coliseum.

What needs to happen for Iowa State to get a Bowl invite this fall?

The defense can’t take a massive step back. The offense needs to find more consistency, and that starts with finding consistency from the quarterback position. 

There are at least six wins out there on Iowa State’s schedule, but things need to come together for this team to take that step back into the postseason.

What is your power ranking of the best road trip for the new schools in the Big 12? (BYU, Cincy, Houston, UCF).

  1. BYU – I’d recommend making the drive to Provo the first time you have an opportunity. I’m not sure there’s a more beautiful and breathtaking part of the country.
  2. Houston – Hard to go wrong with a trip to a big city in Texas.
  3. Cincinnati – I’ve never been to Cincinnati, and I can’t say I’ve ever had much motivation to go.
  4. UCF – I’ve been to Orlando for work twice in the last four years and I’d be perfectly fine with never going back. With that said, I’d love to watch a game at The Bounce House.

Any news on the last scholarship for MBB? I’m assuming not, but am wondering if we could get clued in on what the timelines are (if any) for when/if they can or would use it.

I fully expect Iowa State to bank its last scholarship unless something crazy happens and someone unexpected becomes available in the portal.

What type of coverage will CF have for the MBB overseas trip later this summer?

I haven’t thought about it much yet, but someone let CW know that I’ll happily make the trip if we want coverage on the ground.

What FB game is a shouldn’t win but will win?

I’m not sure if Iowa State’s game against TCU on Oct. 7 falls into the category of “shouldn’t win,” but it feels like a game Iowa State will be, on paper, unlikely to win. 

Factor in the Jack Trice Legacy weekend and the new throwback uniforms and it feels like a game Iowa State is going to win.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.