Iowa State basketball is one of the most interesting success stories in college basketball the last few years. The Cyclones have found new life with head coach T.J. Otzelberger, who has taken the program from ashes to two straight NCAA tournaments. This season, the Cyclones are once again looking like one of the best teams in the country. The team is poised to make a run for the Big 12 championship, with a 21-6 overall record. There is a flaw however, that could keep Iowa State from making a deep run in this year's March Madness.


Iowa State's greatest weakness this season might just be their ability to rebound the basketball. The Cyclones are struggling on the glass in the rough and tumble Big 12. The team is 12th in the league in overall rebounding, out of 14 total teams. The only teams getting fewer rebounds are West Virginia and Oklahoma State, who are the last two teams in the conference standings. That's deeply troubling if Iowa State wants to go to the final weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Iowa State basketball is averaging a combined 31.8 rebounds per conference game, according to the Big 12 Conference. That's quite low as the Cyclones have grabbed a total of 445 rebounds in 14 total conference contests. In comparison, Cincinnati is leading the conference with a combined total of 523 boards. The Cyclones are nearly 100 rebounds behind.

That statistic hasn't bothered the team at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State basketball is undefeated this season at home, with a 16-0 record. That's extremely impressive. The road, however is a different story.

Iowa State is a mediocre 4-4 in road games. The team just isn't the same away from home, and a lot of that comes down to rebounding. In the team's six losses this season, Iowa State basketball was out rebounded in three of those games.

The good news is that Iowa State is shooting the ball well, cutting down on opportunities when the team would need to rebound. On the season, the Cyclones are scoring about 70 points a game, and making 47 percent of their shots. Their field goal percentage is good for fourth in the conference.

The defense has been spectacular, which has truly helped the club. The Cyclones are only giving up 63 total points per contest. The team's scoring defense is second in the Big 12, only outstripped by Houston. There are several strengths to these Cyclones-but rebounding sadly isn't one of them.


Iowa State basketball hasn't reached a Final Four since World War II. The Cyclones made one Final Four in program history, way back in 1944 when the Allied soldiers invaded Normandy. The program may have its best chance to repeat that feat this season, as Iowa State sits at the time of writing with a 21-6 overall record. The team is 10-4 in the Big 12, and has won five of their last six games. It's quite remarkable to see how much this program has surged, if you look at just where they were back in the 2020-21 season.

The year before Otzelberger got the job in Ames, Iowa State basketball went winless in the Big 12. The team was 0-18, with an overall record that season of 2-22. Iowa State parted ways with their head coach Steve Prohm following that abysmal campaign in 2021, and hired Otzelberger. He immediately turned around the program. The very next year, Iowa State was in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, with 22 wins. He clearly knows how to coach. This year could be even bigger for the Cyclones, and it will be fun to see how well this team performs down the stretch.

Iowa State basketball next plays Oklahoma on Wednesday.