Monday Musings: Taking a look at Iowa State’s 2023-24 non-conference schedule

Happy Monday, Fanatics!

I’m on vacation for the rest of this week and most of the following, but I still wanted to take the time to write this column to get some thoughts out before you guys don’t hear from me for 10 days.

Iowa State released its 2023-24 non-conference schedule late last week, and it was a somewhat slow reveal as we already knew the headliner opponents on the slate.

The Cyclones will open their season against Green Bay on Nov. 6 at Hilton Coliseum. Green Bay was one of the worst teams in Division I last season, finishing with a No. 361 ranking on KenPom and a 3-29 record.

Here’s a look at the rest of the schedule, where those teams finished in KenPom last season and their end-of-year record:

Lindenwood – No. 343 – 11-21

Idaho State – No. 245 – 11-21

Grambling State – No. 182 – 24-9

ESPN Events Invitational (More on this in a second)

@ DePaul – No. 135 – 10-23

Iowa – No. 41 – 19-14

Prairie View A&M – No. 271 – 13-19

Florida A&M – No. 359 – 7-22

Eastern Illinois – No. 347 – 9-22

New Hampshire – No. 284 – 15-15

Now, some impressions…

*** This reads like exactly the kind of schedule you’d expect to see for the kind of team Iowa State will have. The Cyclones will be much younger next season than they have been each of the last two years. This schedule should give the team an opportunity to ease their way into the season before hitting the ground running after the new year and Big 12 play start.

*** The ESPN Events Invitational has to have one of the best fields of the year for an in-season tournament. Iowa State will be joined by Boise State, Butler, Florida Atlantic, Penn State, Texas A&M, VCU and Virginia Tech.

Those are all quality programs with FAU coming off of a berth in the Final Four last season, and the Owls will likely be a top-10-15 team in the country going into the season with the majority of their rotation returning.

Every team in the field would be a good test for this team, but a potential match-up with FAU would tell us exactly where the Cyclones are at that point with more than a month left before conference play.

*** I love the idea of the Big East/Big 12 Showdown, but I wish Iowa State could manage to get a more marquee game on the slate. The game against DePaul is most notable for me for the opportunity to play a game in Chicago and the first opportunity to play on the road over anything else.

*** The Iowa game lands on Dec. 7 (a Thursday) this season. That will be this team’s first opportunity to truly experience Hilton Coliseum at its maximum potential.

*** Is the season here yet?

More Musings

*** Omaha Biliew and the U19 Team USA survived a close one on Sunday against Slovenia in the pool play of the U19 FIBA World Cup. Biliew played significant minutes for the Americans while tallying three points, two steals and a block. That came after tallying 12 points in the team’s win over Madagascar on Saturday.

The Americans will wrap up pool play against Lebanon on Tuesday. You can find the stream of all the games in the U19 FIBA World Cup on YouTube.

*** Speaking of Biliew, with the 2023 NBA Draft in the rearview, the prognosticators have turned their attention toward the 2024 Draft, and Biliew’s name is going to come up a lot in those discussions. The five-star freshman is the No. 26 pick overall in ESPN’s first 2024 mock draft.

That seems like a reasonable place for a player of Biliew’s caliber at this point, but I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see that number rise significantly as his freshman year progresses. The guy just has tools that other people do not have and has a winning mentality that I know clubs will fall in love with.

He has lottery potential if the chips fall right.

*** West Virginia’s decision to name assistant coach Josh Eilert as the interim head coach in the wake of Bob Huggins’ resignation feels like the most natural possible move at this point in the cycle.

It was simply too late to be trying to hire a big-time Power 5 head coach. Rosters across the country are basically set, and it would be tough for any sitting head coach to walk away from that.

It also seems to have calmed the waters in Morgantown as star transfer guard Kerr Kriisa quickly withdrew his name from the transfer portal after it was announced Eilert would take over.

*** Like Rodney Terry last year at Texas, you have to feel like Eilert will have every opportunity to prove he’s the man for the job. The Mountaineers have a roster good enough to compete at the top of the Big 12. We’ll find out if the man in charge has the chops to get them there.

*** Over the next two weeks, Jeff Woody and I will be ranking the Big 12 men’s basketball and football coaches on our podcast Mostly On Track. Those episodes will release each of the next two Tuesdays. As you can imagine, things got contentious at times.

With that, it’s time to start vacation.

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.