It's been an exciting year for Iowa State athletics. The Cyclones made NCAA tournament appearances in men's and women's basketball and volleyball. The football team played in a bowl game at Yankee Stadium. The challenge now is to keep that momentum going.
"I don't know if we've had a particular track that we wanted to follow and we wanted to follow and say we want to be exactly here but improvement is something we wanted to see every season and we are seeing exactly that," said Paul Rhoads.
"The big thing that we talk to our players about is that's what all these 6 AM conditioning sessions and weightlifting sessions prepare you for is to hopefully have a chance to get into that NCAA tournament," Fred Hoiberg added. "That's where you want to be and we were fortunate to get there last year. It's tough. It's really tough."
Iowa State set a season attendance record in football, bringing in 50-thousand or more fans for every home game for the first time. Attendance at Hilton Coliseum ranked 24th nationally at over 13-thousand, as the Cyclones went 16 and 2 at home.
"To knock off the defending national champs in Connecticut was a great win for our program," Hoiberg said. "It's very good for recruiting now when we talk to kids."
"That kind of attendance, that kind of support, is much needed as you defend your home turf," Rhoads said.
ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard can breathe easier these days after the Big 12 nearly fell apart two years ago. The conference is adding TCU and West Virginia after losing Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC. Now Florida State an other schools are reportedly interested in getting the Big 12 back to 12 schools.
"It's great to be on an island that everybody wants to be on versus an island that people want to get off of," Pollard said, continuing, "How much difference a year makes. We're really happy at ten. That doesn't mean we wouldn't ever expand but right now we feel we're in a position of power because we've got options."
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