Remember back in December when everyone was gushing about their love affair with the Iowa State Cyclones?
In case you forgot about that time period near the end of nonconference play, this is your friendly reminder that the Cyclones are hot and will be talked about from now until the end of the season, so you better pay attention to them, just like we told you to before Big 12 play began.
Fred Hoiberg's team jumped back into the national spotlight on Monday night with a thrilling 98-97 win in triple overtime over Oklahoma State that saw "The Mayor" make a ballsy coaching decision and the star of the team, DeAndre Kane, make a vital hustle play at the end of the second overtime.
Iowa State wins for the first time in Stillwater since March 2, 1988! The #16 Cyclones defeat #19 Oklahoma State 98-97 in 3 OTs! #ISUvsOKST— ESPN College BBall (@ESPNCBB) February 4, 2014
If Hoiberg did not insert Naz Long into the game for the final play of the second overtime period and Kane failed to outhustle everyone on the court to a rebound and then passed to Long at the top of the key, we would be gushing over how Oklahoma State turned a corner with a big overtime victory.
Iowa State's DeAndre Kane went for 26, 11 and 9 in the triple-OT win at Ok State. "It was a big win for us, I can't be prouder of my guys."— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) February 4, 2014
In all honesty, whoever came out victorious on Monday night in Stillwater would have gained a ton of attention, and that was before the game turned into a three-overtime thriller.
While the rest of the nation turned their attention to Kansas' Andrew Wiggins finally living up to the hype and Texas taking the conference by storm, Iowa State was rebounding from a brutal three-game losing streak that included losses to the Jayhawks and Longhorns.
Now two weeks removed from their loss to Texas, who is much better than anyone would've thought it would be, the Cyclones have won three of their last four games, all against ranked opposition, and have a very favorable schedule in front of them.
Just how favorable is their schedule in the upcoming weeks? Well, first of all, they don't have to deal with Kansas anymore, as they lost to them twice already.
After you get past that crucial factor, you will see that the Cyclones play their next three games against TCU, West Virginia and Texas Tech.
|February 8||vs. TCU (9-11, 0-8 Big 12)|
|February 10||at West Virginia (13-9, 5-4)|
|February 15||vs. Texas Tech (11-11, 3-6)|
|February 18||vs. No. 15 Texas (17-4, 6-2)|
|February 22||at TCU|
|February 26||vs. West Virginia|
|March 1||at Kansas State (15-7, 5-4)|
|March 4||at Baylor (14-7, 2-6)|
|March 8||vs. Oklahoma State (16-6, 4-5)|
Barring a massive setback, which we have come to expect from top teams this season, the Cyclones could enter their home game with Texas on February 18 with an astronomical amount of momentum and a raucous crowd at behind them at Hilton Coliseum.
Looking past the home showdown with Texas, four more favorable games appear on their docket with TCU and West Virginia again, followed by Kansas State and Baylor, a team that has brutally underachieved in Big 12 play.
Then the final game of the season presents a rematch with Oklahoma State, who could be at the end of a free fall after its heartbreaking loss to Iowa State on the night where the Cowboys honored legendary coach Eddie Sutton.
Losing a multiple-overtime game at this juncture of the season could have been a massive blow to the Cyclones' morale, and it almost guarantees them the mental edge over the Cowboys in the final regular-season game of the year in Ames.
While there is plenty of time to think about what could have been if the Cyclones lost on Monday, the fans of the team would much rather look forward to see where this historic victory takes them as they continue to build their already fantastic resume before the NCAA men's basketball tournament begins.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90