The 2014-15 Iowa State men’s basketball schedule is released. Let’s break the whole thing down.
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All that’s left is the finalization of some times and TV networks that will come at a later date. Again, most of the non-conference games will be seen on Cyclones.tv — likely all the home games that don’t have an ESPN network next to them. All Big 12 conference games will be on one of four ESPN networks: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, or ESPNews.
A reminder — the regional syndication of Big 12 Network is no more for men’s basketball.
First up, let’s talk about the non-conference schedule. Iowa State will be playing three different SEC schools; unfortunately, none of them are Kentucky. A home date with Arkansas, part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, will likely be the toughest assignment at Hilton Coliseum before Big 12 play begins. There are some exciting players to watch with the other smaller schools, but the majority of those games the Cyclones should be able to win comfortably in.
The road schedule looks like this: two games in Kansas City for the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, at Iowa, Drake at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, and South Carolina in Brooklyn, NY. Iowa State has zero true road games outside of the state, which sets them up well for the Big 12 season — at most they should only suffer a couple losses, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them undefeated.
Conference play opens up pretty dauntingly. Oklahoma State won’t be the same without Marcus Smart, but after that, it’s at West Virginia, at Baylor, and a home game against Kansas. Having to play Kansas State after that won’t be a simple task either, but luckily it’s at home.
Similar to last season, Iowa State will get the Jayhawks out of the way early — the second matchup comes at February 2nd, the second Big Monday game the Cyclones will be featured in.
Most of February will be tough. Take a look at the stretch after a home date against Texas Tech: at Oklahoma, vs West Virginia, at Oklahoma State, at Texas, vs Baylor, at Kansas State, vs Oklahoma. Then the season wraps up at TCU.
The non-conference slate won’t provide a huge challenge for the Cyclones, but the Big 12 season will certainly give them all the tests needed to get even further in the NCAA tournament — provided they make it, of course.