I'm a native of Maplewood, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul. It was there that I was inflicted with the curse of being a Minnesota Vikings fan. There is still no known cure, though many times I wish there was. I'm also an avid follower of the Minnesota Twins and of course, the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Iowa State men's and women's basketball teams are both on the road this weekend as the regular season slate winds down. The ISU men visit Oklahoma while the women travel to TCU.
The men's contest is a "misery-loves-company" kind of get-together. Both the Cyclones and Sooners are coming off hearbreaking overtime losses; the Cyclones to Kansas Monday and the Sooners to Texas Wednesday. Both have plenty to play for in the Big 12 standings, as well, with ISU and OU tied for fourth. A win would give ISU fourth place outright and a tiebreaker over the two teams immediately behind them since they would have swept both Oklahoma and Baylor this season. I expect Saturday's game to be quite different from the blowout ISU enjoyed in Ames a few weeks back. Not only did the Cyclones play maybe their best game of the season, The Sooners were a tired bunch having lost by two at Kansas State just two days before. Iowa State was coming of a home win against the bears. The Cyclones will have a couple extra days of rest this time, but they're the ones traveling and the Sooners are on normal rest. Expect a dog fight all the way to the end in Norman.
On the ladies side, Iowa State should be considered a big favorite, but as coach Bill Fennelly pointed out Thursday, there have been no shortage of upsets in both men's and women's hoops this season, so he's taking nothing for granted. He also wary because TCU is the only team in the Bif 12 that plays all zone all the time, which could make for a tricky adjustment. The Cyclones handled the Horned Frogs easily in Ames earlier this season and while I wouldn't expect the same kind of dominance, ISU should win this one handily.