116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES - The Iowa State men's basketball team is keenly aware of its historically bad regular season.
The Cyclones went 0-18 in Big 12 Conference play - just the second winless conference season in school history - and are on a 17-game losing streak - the longest in school history.
Wednesday, the Big 12 tournament provides Iowa State an opportunity to hit the reset button.
The Cyclones play the 25th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners in a first-round game at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) in Kansas City. Oklahoma is a team Iowa State has played well against, but has come up short against - twice.
'It's definitely a reset and there is definitely excitement in the air because it is March, it is the conference tournament and we've had great success down there,” ISU Coach Steve Prohm said. 'I think we're all excited about the tournament. You have to be.
'It's March - the best time of the year and a year ago the tournament got canceled, so we have to embrace this.”
Prohm anticipates having starting point guard and leading scorer Rasir Bolton back from an ankle injury - at least in some capacity.
'I think he should be able to go,” Prohm said.
Just having Bolton back in the lineup should help stabilize Iowa State's offense, which Iowa State will need against Oklahoma's defense.
'We've played well against them both times,” Prohm said. 'We have to do a great job, defensively. We can't give up anything in transition. Then offensively, we have to attack their ball-screen defense and keep the ball moving and go inside, out.
'We're confident going into this game - we know our record and we're not running away from that but we have played and competed better and both games against them were close.”
The Cyclones (2-21, 0-18) lost their first game against the Sooners (14-9, 9-8), 79-72, and lost the second game, 66-56.
Guard Tre Jackson, like his coach, pointed to the fact Iowa State has been playing better over the last few games, even though it still hasn't led to wins.
Now, if ISU wants to play more games, it has to turn those close losses into wins.
'If you want a chance to play in the postseason, everyone gets one,” Prohm said. 'I was a mid-major coach for a long time before coming here and there's nothing more nerve-wracking than playing in those tournaments because it's all on the line. That's how it is now for us.
'If we want to keep playing, we have to win and advance and beat the team in front of you.”
The ISU-OU winner will face Kansas in a quarterfinal game at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.