Iowa State, whose shocking 2021-22 campaign ended in a run to the Sweet 16, will be looking to surprise again as it opens the season Monday night against visiting IUPUI in Ames, Iowa.
The Cyclones, who went from two victories in 2020-21 to 22 wins last year, are picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 in a vote of league coaches.
Leading scorer Izaiah Brockington is now playing professionally, point guard Tyrese Hunter transferred to Texas, and his projected replacement, Jeremiah Williams, will miss the season due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Freshmen Tamin Lipsey and Eli King are expected to man the point guard position, with potential help from St. Bonaventure transfer Jaren Holmes, when he’s not the shooting guard. The Cyclones return just one starter — guard Gabe Kalscheur (9.6 points per game).
Another St. Bonaventure transfer, center Osun Osunniyi, will have an immediate impact, especially on the defensive end while being a reliable offensive option in the paint. Caleb Grill will have an elevated role after making 57 3-pointers (34.8 percent) last season.
“It’s an opportunity for Caleb to take a big step in terms of production, garnering more minutes, ability to make more plays offensively and be an impactful player,” said coach T.J. Otzelberger. “And then to play that defense that we’ve come to know.”
IUPUI is coming off a 3-26 season and begins the season last among 358 teams in KenPom.com’s national rankings. The Jaguars are picked to finish last in the 11-team Horizon League in a vote of league coaches, sports information directors and select media.
Second-year coach Matt Crenshaw is hoping to rebuild with a revamped roster. Freshman DJ Jackson scored a game-high 16 points in an 101-60 exhibition win over Brescia, while freshman Vincent Brady II contributed 14.
“I liked a lot of what I saw tonight,” Crenshaw said after the Oct. 27 game. “I thought we played with a lot of energy, we were unselfish and guys were looking to make the extra pass.”
–Field Level Media