Friday, April 29, 2005


Unfinished business

Have you ever seen one of those stores that you might visit sometimes or at least walk by a lot and then one day you notice it's closed? You walk by day after day and the lights are always off and you wonder what happened. Suddenly an "out of business" sign is on the front door and they're loading boxes into a U-Haul out front?

Well, today is that day for the Hilton Magic blog. My two readers may have noticed that I hadn't really posted anything since the UNC loss and even that was a pretty weak post. I guess running a business is a lot like creating a good blog. In order to succeed you really need to be dedicated to your craft. I had big plans when I started this project but soon found that I really didn't have to committment to writing and researching everything I wanted to do. I tried to keep up with my game reports but deep down I knew that it just wasn't going to be the product that I wanted to put out there. So, if I can't create a quality product I'm not going to put anything out at all. Well, that's probably not true. I may pop back in from time to time to post some thoughts since I think next year is shaping up to be a big time year for Cyclones basketball.

Well, maybe I should write something now just for old time's sake. Just about everyone is coming back from this year's team and it appears that Homan and Staple will be replaced by two top 50 ranked big men in Shawn Taggart and Theo Davis. Both of them are bigtime recruits and should be more than servicable for the guards who will be the leaders of the team. Should be an exciting year.

Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting. I enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Cyclones fall in 2nd round

Just a few quick notes. I've never taken well to losing in the tournament so I don't really feel like writing too much.

Homan finished his season like an amazing player. He was a real man today and the guards didn't help him out much on the defensive end.

Billy Packer is a fucking idiot. I can't stand him. Seriously. Idiot. Almost everything he said today was wrong from his obsession with elbows acting like ISU was playing cheap when NC did that the entire game to saying that ISU was national wrestling champs. Everything says is usually followed with umm....ok.

UNC is a hell of a team. I really thought that ISU had a chance in this one but they are so good about getting their shots. I think that kind of got in our guys' heads a little bit in the late 1st and early 2nd half. UNC is just the most athletic team in the country and that pass that will work agaisnt Kansas doesn't work against them and they'll get their fingertips on that rebound to keep it alive. It's tough to beat a team like that especially when you miss some makeable shots like we did.

Why do I let Billy Packer get to me like that?

ISU really had one chance to get back in the game with Clark at the line shooting two with a chance to cut it to 11. Like most of our other free throws he missed them and UNC scores a bucket, Stinson turns it over, and UNC dunks to push it to 17. Of course as soon as we cut it to 11 Billy Packer was completely oblivious to the game situation and wanting Roy to sit Felton for the rest of the game. Nantz finally said something about the 11-4 run.

I just want to say that it was a hell of a season for Wayne Morgan and this team. They had some early struggles but they really came together and made it a season to remember. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to next year.

Friday, March 18, 2005


Cyclones roll past Gophers

A nearly dominant performance by the Cyclones today against Minnesota. Once ISU got the lead they kept it pretty much in check except for two or three moments where I got pretty nervous. When Stinson was hurt and Carr picked up his fourth I was starting to grip a little bit but they managed to survive that. The other moment was after the 12 point lead was cut to 7 and ISU was turning it over but they made a few key shots and hit their free throws.

My player of the game has to be Jared Homan. He absolutely destroyed Minny's seven footer picking up 14 poitns, 13 rebounds, and 7 blocks. The guy was afraid to shoot over Homan because it would be sent back into his face. You can tell that Jared is majorly pumped to play in the tourney.

Stinson was also nails as usual but everybody really seemed to be impressed by Clark's game. He's such an athlete that you can tell he has the potential to be a special player at ISU. His intesity really drives the defense.

Carolina is up next. It's going to take a great effort for ISU to win and they'll need UNC to miss some three pointers to have a chance but I think it's possible. The players are going to have to stay out of foul trouble because they're going to need the starting five on the floor as much as possible and Carr is going to need to provide a meaningful contribution off the bench.

A good SI writeup of some interesting things from the game including Aaron Agnew going Shaq on one of the goals and some glowing reviews of Clark and ISU's defense.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Minnesota Golden Gophers

Well, I looked up some info on Minnesota but I won't go into too much detail about them.

Here's their team page on CBS Sportsline and their official basketball site if you want to look up some other stuff.

Looking at their schedule they are 2-7 against other NCAA tournament teams with the two wins coming at home against Wisconsin and Iowa State. They have losses against Alabama and Oklahoma in Alaska and against Illinois (twice), Iowa, and Michigan State (twice). They have a road win against Nebraska which is the only other common opponent besides OU and Iowa. They have a 6-4 record in their last 10 but won five of their last six.

Guard/Forward Vincent Grier is clearly their best player averaging 18.1 ppg (1st on team), 5.5 rpg (2nd), and 2.5 apg (2nd). Jeff Hagen, a 6-11 Center, should provide a formidable challenge to Jared Homan as the only other Gopher to average double figures in points (11.3 ppg) and also averages 5.5 rebounds. Although he has had some impressive games he seems to have a tendency to be forgotten about in games where he'll only take 2 or 3 field goal attempts in 30+ minutes. As a team they try to force some turnovers and are at the top of the Big 10 in field goal percentage defense. Offensively, they are at the bottom in turnovers so that has the potential to really help out if ISU gets their trap and press going.

Really, that was just a bare bones look at some of their stuff. Minnesota has the potential to play well but they haven't really shown me that they can beat the really good teams like ISU did during the conference season. ISU needs to come out fired up and ready to play. If their energy level is high they should be able to force Minnesota into a lot of turnovers leading to some fast break points and keeping Minnesota's defense from setting up. They do guard the three point line very well which might be a good thing if the guys know they can't settle for that shot all day. I don't mind shooting some open shots but if they aren't falling and our guys keep chucking it up there we'll get beat. This team loves to play on a big stage so I think they'll be ready for this. It should be a good game.

Also, here's a good article on Jared Homan ending up at ISU and talks about his parents driving to Charlotte listening to tapes of old Cyclones games. That sounds like the best way I could think of to pass 20 hours.

Another one from the Trib focusing on how excited he is to play in his first NCAA tourney when he grew up watching every Cyclone game he could.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Whoa, where have I been?

Hey, sorry I kind of forgot to mention that I would be in Chicago from Thursday night until late Monday but that's where I was. I wanted to take a trip with my girlfriend to visit her sister and conference tournament weekend looked like the better option than opening weekend of the NCAA tournament. I was forced to keep my eye on the papers and catching a few glimpses of some games shown in bars. Unfortunately, most of my action was limited to the last minute or so of the Iowa-MSU game in a bar that had about 5 or 6 Hawkeye fans and 2 unhappy looking Spartan fans.

Anyway, ISU is in with a 9 seed against Minnesota in Charlotte. I'm working on some info on the Goofers but won't have that ready for a little while since I'm trying to get my own bracket together (priorites, right?). At first glance, I like the matchup. The press has the potential to force a lot of turnovers against a team that seems to be prone to committing them. Looking beyond that and Roy "Likes Boys" Williams and UNC loom in the second round. He's been known to choke before and ISU can beat good teams when they have to. But, I don't want to get ahead of myself yet. Take care of Minnesota first.

Monday, March 07, 2005


All Big 12 teams

The official All Big 12 teams were announced today. These are voted on by the coaches.

First-Team All-Big 12
Wayne Simien, Kansas
Taj Gray, Oklahoma
Joey Graham, Oklahoma State
John Lucas, Oklahoma State
Ronald Ross, Texas Tech

Second-Team All-Big 12
Curtis Stinson, Iowa State
Keith Langford, Kansas
Jeremiah Massey, Kansas State
Brad Buckman, Texas
Antoine Wright, Texas A&M

Third-Team All-Big 12
Jared Homan, Iowa State
Aaron Miles, Kansas
Kevin Bookout, Oklahoma
Daniel Gibson, Texas
Jarrius Jackson, Texas Tech

Honorable Mention
Aaron Bruce, Baylor
Richard Roby, Colorado
Linas Kleiza, Missouri
Joe McCray, Nebraska
Terrell Everett, Oklahoma
Ivan McFarlin, Oklahoma State
Joseph Jones, Texas A&M
Acie Law, Texas A&M

I think the selections are pretty good overall but I'm wondering how exactly Will Blalock is left off of the Honorable Mention team. I guess I'll cut them a little slack since they try to get every team with at least one player but I do think he is a better guard than any of the others on the list. The top three teams got three players, the next tier had two, and the rest had one. Blalock is a fantastic player and he has a legitimate shot at first team next year. In good news for Will, he was Big 12 player of the week after averaging 19.5 pts, 6 assists, and 2 steals in two wins.

He also made all-underrated team along with Jared Homan and Tasheed Carr made the all-reserve team. Major props to Tasheed as this list has some pretty solid players. I wasn't sure if his early season play would hurt him but the coaches still noticed his game during the conference season. Stinson was named to the all-defense team mainly on the strength of his second best in the Big 12 steals ranking and 6th overall in school history. Here are all the specialty lists if you are interested.

Big 12 All-Reserve
Tasheed Carr, Iowa State
Stephen Graham, Oklahoma State
Lance Harris, Kansas State
Bobby Leach, Texas A&M
Lawrence McKenzie, Oklahoma

Big 12 All-Underrated
Will Blalock, Iowa State
Brad Buckman, Texas
Devonne Giles, Texas Tech
Jared Homan, Iowa State
Christian Moody, Kansas

Big 12 All-Defense
Taj Gray, Oklahoma
Ivan McFarlin, Oklahoma State
Aaron Miles, Kansas
Ronald Ross, Texas Tech
Curtis Stinson, Iowa State

In tournament news the latest Bracketology on has ISU as an 8 seed facing Creighton and UNC in the second round. Speaking of Creighton, Cyclone fans should be cheering for them in the MVC tournament final. Creighton is most likely in the dance anyway but they'll take the MVC automatic bid with a win over Southwest Missouri State (soon to be Missouri State) opening up another at-large spot. I don't think the Cyclones will need it but why tempt fate?

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Cyclones beat Buffs, earn 5th seed in KC

I won't be writing up too much a recap on this game but Stinson, Blalock, and Carr all played fantastically and carried us to the win. I don't want to forget about Staple's 14 rebounds (6 offensive) and 4 steals either. The Cyclones did what they needed to do to get the win and it could have been large other than some timely three point shooting from CU.

A couple of interesting notes. This marked the first time since 1979 that the Cyclones lost three conference games in Hilton and beat those same three teams on the road (Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska).

The Big 12 bracket is setting up just about as good as it could be for the Cyclones. Missouri's win over Kansas gives the #1 seed to Oklahoma. This means that KU and OSU are on the other side of the bracket giving ISU a potential road to the finals of Baylor-Texas Tech-Oklahoma. Don't get me wrong, even beating these three teams in three days will be tough but they've beaten each of the teams in their half at least once and had a good shot at beating NU and Mizzou twice. First game is Thursday at 2 PM.

Most projections have ISU solidly in the dance with a 10 seed or better. Looking good for the Clones. Now, let's go make some noise in KC.

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