Just months after falling to the UAB Blazers in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament in a shocker nobody saw coming, the Iowa State Cyclones are preparing to start again. On Tuesday, the team announced their non-conference schedule and it isn’t as tough as you’d expect for a two-time defending Big 12 tournament champion.
According to Cyclones.com, Iowa State, now being lead by former Murray State head coach Steve Prohm, will open their season on the road in Sioux Fall, South Dakota taking on the Colorado Buffaloes.
The Cyclones will then participate in the Emerald Coast Classic.
They host Chicago State and Chattanooga in the opening rounds of the tournament before heading down to Niceville, Florida for the championship rounds.
The Cyclones take on Virginia Tech in the Classic and then play either Illinois or have a NCAA Tournament rematch against UAB in the second game.
Iowa State kicks off the first week of December with two match-ups against teams that made the Tournament last season.
On December 1 and 8, they host North Dakota State and Buffalo respectively. Both of these teams fell in the Round of 64 last season. Their final non-conference match-up against a 2015 Tournament team is quite possibly their toughest.
The Cyclones travel up to Des Moines to take on the Panthers out of the University of Northern Iowa, who advanced to the Sweet Sixteen last season. This game is part of the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic and takes place on December 19. They wrap up their non-conference slate on the road against Texas A&M as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
With leading scorer Georges Niang returning for his senior season, the Cyclones look like they could be setting up for another run at the Big 12 Championship. Let’s hope that come time for March Madness, they can erase the loss to UAB from their minds and push towards their first Final Four since 1944.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports