What we learned at the Diamond Head Classic

Iowa State

The winners of the Diamond Head Classic are now 11-0 and have a fantastic resume. They were ranked No. 14, and should already have been ranked in the top 10. If you can explain how Duke or Louisville have better resumes, I'm all ears.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the Cyclones were in a tight game late vs George Mason and trailed Boise State by 11. Yes, they won both, but it's also been a trend with this team to struggle with less talented opponents. With Big 12 conference play beginning January 4th, there's going to be a lot less wiggle room for error. The primary problem is that the Cyclones are 314th in the nation at forcing turnovers, and 283rd at offensive rebounding, so they're not winning the hidden game of possessions like most good teams do. That's how you keep lesser programs from being able to protect leads, and ISU isn't doing it.

Boise State

A 2nd place finish is nothing to be ashamed about, but they had a ranked team down 11 and couldn't find a way to win. Now they're stuck with Utah as their best win heading into to Mountain West play. Last year the Mountain West had five teams in Pomeroy's top 60, and all five made the dance. This year they have three teams. Boise State is currently No. 54.

Saint Mary's

Their trip to Hawaii was a complete, unmitigated, disaster. They arrived 9-0 and as a 10-point favorite in their opener vs South Carolina. They departed 9-3 after they were favored in each of the games they played. With no elite teams in the West Coast Conference this year they should be in every game they play. The problem is that they likely have to go 15-1 to earn an at large bid. Otherwise they'll be staking all their hopes on the conference tournament.


Gib Arnold's team only loss in their tournament was a 62-61 heartbreaker to Boise State. The went on to beat St. Mary's when the Gaels couldn't keep them off the free throw line, and then beat Oregon State by making 7-12 3s. After being picked as an also ran in the Big West it now appears that they'll have the weapons to contend for the title. Hawaii hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 2002.