AMES — The Iowa State men’s basketball team is just three games into its season but the conference portion already is beginning.
Iowa State (1-2) hosts Kansas State (2-4) at 8 p.m. Tuesday (ESPNU) in Hilton Coliseum.
“It’s the new reality that we’re all facing,” Iowa State Coach Steve Prohm said. “If you look at the Big East, they’ve jumped into conference play and we have to be ready. Obviously conference play is huge and we have to be ready to go.”
Kansas State, like Iowa State, is a team with a lot of new faces that’s still trying to find its direction.
“The thing with Coach (Bruce) Weber’s team is they’re always going to play extremely hard,” Prohm said. “They’re young and they’re not as experienced as some of his past teams, but they play hard and they’re tough. They’ve gotten better over the last couple of weeks.”
Because of Iowa State’s youth, Prohm is spending most of his practice time working on getting the Cyclones up to the level he wants. The Cyclones still scout and game-plan, but at this point, Prohm believes it’s more important to improve his own team.
“We watched the defensive edit from Iowa and we had a great practice,” Prohm said. “We didn’t do a ton of things but the couple things that we did, we did until we did them right. We really need to compete better on the glass, compete better in transition defense and then we wrapped it up with the Iowa offensive edit.
“We spent a couple hours here on Sunday afternoon doing those things. It was good and we need to have another good, sharp day here at 1 p.m. (Monday) to do a little more preparation for Kansas State.”
Freshman big man Xavier Foster said the coaches have been on them about their defense.
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“They have been on us about giving up 105 points (in Friday’s loss to No. 3 Iowa),” Foster said. “On the road, we scored 77 points — that’s not a bad number at all. But to give up 105 points — you’re not going to win a whole lot of games doing that.”
The Cyclones will find out Tuesday if what they’re doing is working.
“You can say all this stuff but at some point you have to win a big game — and every game in conference is big,” Prohm said. “If we could win (Tuesday) night, it’d be a big,