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Speak Your Truth: Iowa State men’s basketball Q&A

Our pals from Wide Right & Natty Lite answered our questions ahead of Sunday’s second round matchup.

Iowa State v Kansas State Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

While Iowa, as a state, is close to Wisconsin, the Badgers and Cyclones don’t see each other very often in many sports. However, through the magic of March UW and ISU will meet in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee to decide who will move on to the Sweet 16 in the Midwest Region.

Our friend Matthias Schwarzkopf (@MatthiasWRNL) from Wide Right & Natty Lite dropped by to answer our questions about the Clones and how he sees Sunday evening’s second round game going. Give Matthias and the gang at WRNL a follow ahead of the game because they are a fun crew.

Here are his answers about the Clones, Tyrese Hunter and Iowa State’s defense.

The Clones had, from an outsider’s perspective, an odd season. They started off 12-0 but found themselves at 16-9 in the middle of February, before rattling off four straight wins and then ending the regular season with three straight losses. I guess, uh, can you give us an overview of ISU’s season and how Cyclone fans feel about things?

Much like Miller Lite and it’s terribleness, Iowa State had an awful season in 2020-2021 going 2-22 and things had to be different going into this season. It obviously started at the top with TJ Otzelberger getting hired and then it moved down to the roster. Whether it was TJ having those conversations with players or them deciding on their own, we had a bunch leave and then TJ went right to the portal and filled out the roster. Obviously, the big get was Tyrese Hunter from Wisconsin.

We knew going into the season the focus would be on the defensive end of the floor and hoped that the offense would spark eventually and that is sort of what happened. The defense carried this team through the non con and it was an elite level defense. Forcing turnovers and creating offense that way. Then Big 12 play happened.

Much like Spotted Cow, the offense turned to trash (Editor’s note: that’s right) and the defense started giving up more runs than what too many orders of cheese curds would do to you. Whether it was a clash of styles or playing teams who do the things that you want to do but at a higher clip. It just was straight up not a good time getting into conference play.

All in all we are pretty thrilled and happy. How could you not be coming off a 2-22 season? Got to the NCAA tourney and won in the first round. Even with all the highs and lows and the frustrating offense, it’s hard to be pissed at anything.

Wisconsin native, and Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Tyrese Hunter went OFF against LSU in their first round game, making 7-of–11 three pointers. How impressive has he been this season and what can be done to slow him down?

Well for one, this type of game kind of felt like a long time coming for him. He was had his moments and we knew he was a special player before he came to Ames. He just hadn’t really had that “breakout” game. He had some bright moments this season but would follow it up with an average or below average game. This game kind of just gave us a glimpse of what next season may bring for him and that is very exciting.

As for stopping him, and this kind of goes for the whole team, pressure and in your face for 40 minutes. Hunter and Iowa State have not been able to really do anything when they face a team that gets in your face for 40 minutes and just beats you down. If you have watched Texas Tech play defense that is textbook on how to make Iowa State just basically become non existent. LSU had been that way for most of the season and they did a pretty good job of making Iowa State uncomfortable in moments on Friday night.

Iowa State has a stifling defense that forces a bunch of turnovers. Wisconsin rarely turns the ball over at all. Who should UW ball handlers be wary of when bringing the ball up the court?

Hunter for one. He had five steals against LSU and has been rather pesky at poking the ball away in timely situations all season long. Other than that, Iowa State just plays really good team defense and there is no real defensive star. They have bought into the system that Otzelberger has installed defensively and they just work together to get it done.

In the case of teams such as Wisconsin that really limit their turnovers, Iowa State just grinds it out and makes them work for 40 minutes and sometimes working hard continuously on the offensive end can have just as good of an effect as creating a bunch of turnovers.

Give us one under-the-radar player for the Clones who could have Wisconsin fans cursing his name for eternity if he helps ISU to a win.

Well if you want a name that will make everyone curse it’s Gabe Kalscheur and I am sure Wisconsin fans are familiar with him from his Minnesota days.

Iowa State v LSU
Gabe Kalscheur driving to the tin against LSU.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

He is Mr. Inconsistent but he plays hard and you can’t fault him for that but he has his moments. If he finds a rhythm he can shoot lights out and he sometimes has been an X-factor for Iowa State. He has been extremely cold over the last four games so maybe it’s time to fire up is one game that he goes off for 20 points.

You don’t have to give an exact prediction or anything, but how do you feel this game will go? What has to happen for Iowa State to go to the Sweet 16?

Well you can kind of go through Twitter and see that the general public is not too excited about Iowa State and Wisconsin going at it. Not overly flashy teams but they get the job done. Not that we all care what the world thinks. It’s going to be a grind it out type of game once again and both teams kind of had that on Friday night.

Iowa State plays their best when the game is ugly on both sides. Wisconsin has a few more horses on their team but Iowa State has been up against that all season long.

I am kind of expecting another big game from Hunter and, much unlike Aaron Rodgers, Hunter is in his home state and playing in front of his friends and family and he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Considering Wisconsin didn’t recruit him at all and he made that known in his post-game quotes. If he has a big game and coupled with some big shots from Izaiah Brockington, Iowa State should be in a good position on Sunday night to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Whatever happens on Sunday night this has been a success for Iowa State and we are excited for what the future holds under TJ Otzelberger.