Iowa State revels in unbeaten basketball teams
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State women’s coach Bill Fennelly looked at his phone and there was a congratulatory text from Cyclones counterpart and close friend Fred Hoiberg.
When Fennelly arrived at the school’s basketball facility in Ames, the first faces he saw were Hoiberg’s players. They braved shivering conditions to congratulate Fennelly for staying undefeated with a win over Oklahoma on Sunday.
The Cyclone men certainly appreciate how tough it is to take a perfect record into January.
It’s 14 up, and 14 down for the men and women at Iowa State. The Cyclones are the only Division I school with two unbeaten basketball teams.
Iowa State’s men and women made the most of Hilton Magic, winning back- to-back Big 12 Conference games this week. The ninth-ranked men dispatched No. 7 Baylor 87-72 Tuesday. The women are ranked 11th, their highest position since 2002, after beating the Sooners 82-75 in overtime on the road came home Wednesday to roll past Texas Tech, 74-48.
Each program is off to the best start in school history and packing Hilton Coliseum on a nightly basis. The men have already had four sellouts and expect to reach capacity for every Big 12 game — while the women are again averaging close to 10,000 a game.
“It’s exciting for our players. It’s exciting for our coaches and it’s exciting for our fans,” athletic director Jamie Pollard said. “It’s a unique situation, and it is what is. I don’t think anyone has any control over it.”
Both of Iowa State’s teams had roughly the same expectations: to make some noise in the Big 12 and compete for a decent NCAA tournament seed.