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Hoopin’ Around the Big 12: Iowa State is the Most Improved Team in the Country



As college basketball competed in Thanksgiving week tournaments, a lot of the Big 12 schools took place in chaotic games, leading to surprises. Let’s recap the notable games in the Big 12 over the last week.

Notable Big 12 Results – Week Three

Wednesday, Nov. 24:

No. 6 Baylor 75, Arizona State 63
Iowa State 82, No. 25 Xavier 70

Thursday, Nov. 25:

No. 6 Baylor 69, VCU 61

Friday, Nov. 26:

Dayton 74, No. 4 Kansas 73
No. 6 Baylor 75, Michigan State 58
Iowa State 78, No. 9 Memphis 59
Oklahoma State 78, Oral Roberts 77 (OT)

Sunday, Nov. 28:

No. 4 Kansas 96, Iona 83

The biggest shocker of the season so far is how Iowa State has started the season 6-0, with two top-25 wins (Xavier, Memphis). The Cyclones were coming off of a 2-win season last year. ISU fired former head coach Steve Prohm, lost leading scorers Rasir Bolton (Gonzaga) and Jalen Coleman-Lands (Kansas) to the transfer portal.

Former UNLV head coach TJ Otzelberger has done an amazing job in his first six games in Ames. Otzelberger was an assistant at Iowa State from 2006-13, 2015-16, under Greg McDermott, Fred Hoiberg and Prohm.

Otzelberger was able to hit the transfer portal and get Izaiah Brockington (Penn State), Gabe Kalscheur (Minnesota), Ajax Kunc (Washington State), Tristan Enaruna (Kansas), Caleb Grill (UNLV) and Robert Jones (Denver). Looks like it has paid off as the Cyclones have already tripled their win total from last season.

Baylor won the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, defeating Arizona State, VCU and Michigan State. The reigning national champions had a great week.

Kansas, on the other hand, had an unexpected eventful week. The Jayhawks competed in ESPN Events Invitational, where they handled North Texas on Wednesday. Then, on Friday, Kansas took on Dayton and were upsetter by the Flyers on a buzzer beater. To put it into perspective on how much an upset it was, Dayton was coming off of three-straight losses at home to low-major schools.

The Jayhawks bounced back, defeating Rick Pitino and Iona, on Sunday.

(Top Photo: Luke Lu / Iowa State Athletics)

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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