Sunday, December 18, 2005

Wells Fargo Arena In D.M. Isn't Hilton South Yet, So Ron Maly Has An Idea -- Play ISU's 'Home' Game Against Drake There Next Season

OK, so Wells Fargo Arena didn’t exactly turn into Hilton South last night, but I’m not giving up on the 16,558-seat building yet.

It wouldn’t be an official Christmas season if a guy didn’t have an idea, and that’s what I’ve got today.

Wayne Morgan has given hints in the past that he’s not a big fan of having his Iowa State basketball team play Drake –- and maybe even Northern Iowa.

And I figure you know by now what I think of that.

The Drake-Iowa State rivalry is the oldest in the state, and it should continue forever, despite anything Morgan says.

In fact, my idea centers around the next Iowa State-Drake game.

It’s due to be played at Hilton Coliseum in Ames next season. When Morgan’s Cyclones blitzed Drake, 73-46, at 14,092-seat Hilton last season, the game drew only 10,426 – and it was Iowa State’s opening game.

All right, so let’s schedule next season’s Iowa State-Drake game at Wells Fargo Arena. The crowd figure given for the Cyclones’ 70-67 loss to Ohio State last night at the big downtown Des Moines arena was 12,500, and I figure an Iowa State-Drake game at Wells Fargo should draw just as well, if not better.

Play the game when students from both universities aren't on their holiday break. Call it Iowa State’s home game. Cyclone fans can watch it. Drake fans can watch it. People who are curious to see a game at Wells Fargo can watch it.

Drake fans might complain that they'd be terribly out-numbered by Iowa State followers at Wells Fargo. But it certainly wouldn't be any worse than it is at Hilton Coliseum.

I think it would be a great attraction for Wells Fargo, and it might quiet anyone in Ames who thinks Iowa State shouldn’t be playing Drake.


I’ve been praising Wayne Morgan in recent columns, but I think he got outcoached against Ohio State.

Well, maybe it was associate head coach Damon Archibald who got outcoached. Archibald seems to make a lot of coaching decisions at Iowa State.

The Cyclones had Ohio State on the ropes early, taking a 39-32 halftime lead. At that stage, I thought Iowa State had a better team than the unbeaten Buckeyes. Maybe I still do.

But Thad Matta [pictured in the center], Ohio State’s second-year coach, put his team into a zone defense in the last half that slowed the Cyclones and took took away their firepower. The Buckeyes outscored Iowa State, 18-7, down the stretch.

Iowa State didn't make the needed adjustments, and paid the price.

This was the Cyclones' chance to make a strong statement. A victory over a ranked team would have sent Iowa State [6-3] to the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii on a high note.


Watch out for Ohio State in the Big Ten race.

The Buckeyes [7-0] are off to their best start in 15 seasons, and Matta kept bringing his players back last night just when it seemed Iowa State might put the nail in their coffin.

Ohio State has been winning while playing in the shadow of a lawsuit filed by former coach Jim O’Brien that says he was improperly fired by the university in June, 2004.

Despite all the turmoil, Matta has recuited a class for the 2006-2007 school year that’s considered one of the best – if not the best – in the nation.