It’s very rare to see Iowa State and Iowa meet this highly ranked (17th and 23rd in the Associated Press top 25, respectively) in men’s basketball.
Both teams have just one combined loss and are both coming off impressive postseason experiences last season. The Cyclones went to the NCAA tournament’s round of 32 before a heartbreaking loss to Ohio State, while Iowa proved they should have been a NCAA tournament team with a NIT run resulting in a loss to Baylor in the title game.
The stage is clearly set for one of the most exciting and meaningful matchups in series history. A good showing in this game may very well play dividends for either team come March. Any win over a major conference opponent is important, wins over ranked teams are even more important.
This type of thing is good for the fans too. On Thursday morning Iowa State students began to camp outside Hilton Coliseum. Thursday morning. That means they’ll be outside in below freezing temperatures for over 30 hours before the game.
The atmosphere in Hilton is sure to be one of the best remembered. Kansas and Michigan have had great atmospheres over the last couple seasons. Some say it’s been so loud in Hilton before the court has shaken during the game. If that’s possible, it may very well happen on Friday night.
Cyclones-Hawkeyes may not be the biggest rivalry in college basketball, but for those who are fans of either school, it’s been something special. Matchups involving legendary coaches like Johnny Orr and Tom Davis; players such as Fred Hoiberg, Jeff Grayer, Lafester Rhoads, B.J. Armstrong, and Roy Marble. The list goes on and on.
Some of us will be at Hilton on Friday night, others will be watching on TV, and even others will be listening to the game on the radio. Some of us often get caught up in the action, and become more stressed out then entertained during sporting events. Regardless of where you are during the game take a moment and enjoy the atmosphere. A game like this may not happen for many more years.