The Iowa State men’s basketball team has the Big Ten tournament in its sights for the first time in six years.
Iowa State is set to take on No. 12 Purdue in the NCAA tournament on Friday, Oct. 3.
Iowa will play the Purdue Boilermakers on the final day of the regular season, and then host No. 9 Iowa on the second weekend of the Big 12 tournament.
The Cyclones, who were ranked 25th in the country a season ago, are ranked No. 3 in the Big 10 and are scheduled to play at No. 5 Iowa on Saturday.
The final five Big 12 teams will be determined at a special championship game between the Big 11 and the Big East on Sunday, Nov. 2.
That game is set for 10:00 a.m.
Iowa is expected to make its final four roster cuts of the preseason, so there are some players that have already been added to the squad.
Iowa’s best players are still there, including junior guard Anthony Stalter, sophomore guard Chris McBride and sophomore guard Michael C. Hall.
The Hawkeyes are currently ranked 12th in Big 12 play, so it’s possible that the Cyclones will finish in the top half of the conference.
They should finish in a playoff position.
Iowa (12-6, 9-5 Big Ten) is in the midst of its most successful season since 2012-13, when the Hawkeyes were one of the nation’s top teams.
The team finished the regular-season at the bottom of the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
But it was one of only six Big Ten teams to finish the regular campaign ranked in the AP Top 25.
Iowa finished second in the league with a record of 30-2, and it finished second with a plus-24.3 defensive rating.
Iowa has improved in each of the past two seasons.
It won 12 games in each season of the Gary Patterson era, and in the 2015-16 campaign, the Hawkeye defense led the Big Eight and Big Ten in total defense.
The last time Iowa finished above .500 was in 2012-14.
The next Big Ten team to finish above .400 in defensive efficiency is Ohio State, which had a +24.4 defensive rating in the 2016-2017 season.
The Buckeyes were ranked in last place in the conference in defensive rating, but had the fifth-best scoring defense and sixth-best defense efficiency.
Iowa was the only Big Ten opponent that ranked in or near the bottom five in offensive efficiency.
It was also the only team to play in five of the six conference tournaments.
Iowa led the conference with 18 victories last season.
Iowa won six games in the regularseason, but lost six of those games by an average of 14.4 points.
It finished 8-2 against conference opponents, but that was the first year since 2009-10 that Iowa won eight straight games.
Iowa lost two straight to Michigan State, and won its next three games against Wisconsin, Penn State and Indiana.
Iowa defeated Indiana 78-73 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2017, and its next game was against Wisconsin on Saturday night.
Iowa got the win by a combined nine points in the second round against Michigan State.
The Golden Flashes finished 7-9 in the SEC Tournament in 2020-21, but they made the NCAA Championship Game in 2019.
Iowa made it to the Sweet 16 in 2020, and lost to LSU in the Elite Eight.