The Iowa State basketball team won their 500th game at Hilton Coliseum in 666 (…) tries on Wednesday night, and the team successfully had another undefeated run on their home court in non-conference action. With a win percentage of over 75 percent and an extremely tough Big 12 conference slate ahead, the Cyclones’ road to a potential national championship run must begin with success in Ames.
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Under Fred Hoiberg, the Cyclones have only lost twice at home in non-conference play. First was in his debut season against California, 76-73, on December 4, 2010. That was back when the short-lived Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series was still a thing. The other loss came in the following year on November 30th with a 69-62 loss to Northern Iowa.
Since then, Iowa State has won every non-conference game at home. The consecutive win streak extends to 27 after torching MVSU 83-33 on New Year’s Eve and that now completes three successful non-conference seasons in a row.
The Cyclones’ 500th victory at Hilton Coliseum should serve as a reminder for everyone on how tough it is for opponents to come into Ames and win. Winning more than three out of every four games at home is incredible, and it’s a testament to Hilton Magic and how real it is.
Even during the rough years in the new millennium where the team struggled mightily on the road, it could count on their friendly confines to always be in a game. Regardless of the competition, fans would pack the arena and opponents found it tough to close out a game with a victory.
Dec 31, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Fred Hoiberg smiles after his team defeats the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State won 83-33. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Hilton Magic could be found in just about every game the Cyclones stepped out on the court for. It’s why Iowa State is well known for having one of the toughest places to play in the country.
Now that Iowa State has a team that can contend for a national championship, it’s pivotal for them to take advantage of their home court domination. The Cyclones only lost to the Kansas Jayhawks in Ames last season.
Home court success is only magnified by how difficult the Big 12 is. Last year’s squad was really good, but they went just 3-6 away from home in regular season conference action. That’s likely going to hover around the same record. Every conference team has their upsides, and every single road game is a challenge.
There’s no way in hell they’re going to win nine conference games on the road. If they do, then shut down the NCAA tournament and just mail the trophy to Ames because that feat is more impressive than anything that would happen in March.
If Iowa State wants to both contend for a Big 12 regular season title and make their road to the Final Four easier, they must get that win total at Hilton Coliseum to 509. Winning at home dampens the stress of needing to win on the road, and the Cyclones have one of the best arenas and fanbases in college basketball to get the job done.