Feb 13, 2012; Waco, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Melvin Ejim (3) takes a free throw against the Baylor Bears during the second half at the Ferrell Center. Baylor won 79-64. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Big 12 Men’s Basketball Preview: Iowa State Cyclones

Surprisingly, the Iowa State Cyclones did quite well during the 2011-2012 season. They finished with an overall record of 23-11 and a Big 12 Conference record of 12-6. They were 2-5 against ranked opponents last season. Iowa State also lost in their first game of the Big 12 Conference Tournament to the Texas Longhorns.

The Cyclones still made it to the NCAA National Tournament and were selected as an 8th seed. They won their first game against 9th seeded UCONN who was filled with talent which included: Andre Drummond, Alex Oriakhi, Jeremy Lamb, and Shabazz Napier. However, ISU lost their 3rd Round game to the National Champion, Kentucky Wildcats.

This season, Iowas State will be without their leading scorer and rebounder from a year ago, Royce White. White averaged 13.4 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game last season. He was drafted 16th overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2012 NBA Draft.

The Cyclones will also be without their second and third scorers Scott Christopherson (12.5) and Chris Allen (12.2).

One player that Iowa State will lean on for leadership is Melvin Ejim. Last year, he averaged 9.3 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game in 27.3 minutes per game. Ejim was a Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades and a First-Team Academic All-Big 12 selection.

The Cyclones will also have five new freshman this season. These freshman are Georges Niang, Naz Long, Cameron Fowler, Sherron Dorsey-Walker, and Nkereuwem Okoro.

This will not be an easy year for the Cyclones and head coach Fred Hoiberg knows that. According to cyclones.com, Hoiberg said “We’re not going to do it with one guy, but I think, collectively, we’ve got a group with experience. We also have a great class coming who I think will make an immediate impact” when asked about his team this year.

It is not doubt that Iowa State will need to replace White, but how will his absence affect the team during their conference schedule? Just in their two ranked wins last season, White, along with Allen and Christopherson, helped ISU get the win. This season, it would be very surprising if the Cyclones defeated Kansas or even Baylor at all.

Iowa State will most likely finish in the bottom half of the Big 12 and could have a .500 winning percentage overall.

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Tags: Big 12 Iowa State Cyclones Melvin Ejim

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