Here's how the Iowa State women's basketball can lock up a 2 seed in the Big 12 Tournament

AMES – The Iowa State women’s basketball team won’t finish at the top of the Big 12 Conference standings like they were predicted to before the season started.

But the Cyclones still can finish close to it.

No. 23 Iowa State can still secure the 2-seed in next week’s Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. But the Cyclones need some help and they’ll certainly need a victory during their 7 p.m. showdown at Kansas on Wednesday night.

“Obviously there’s a lot of things that can happen in the last two games,” said Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly.

Iowa State is likely a lock to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament if the Cyclones don’t win the Big 12 Tournament. But winning the conference tournament isn’t out of the question either for Iowa State, which has beaten all of its Big 12 opponents at least once this season.

Bill Fennelly's Iowa State team can still lock up a two seed at next week's Big 12 Tournament.
Bill Fennelly's Iowa State team can still lock up a two seed at next week's Big 12 Tournament.

Iowa State controls only a part of its destiny. The Cyclones have to win their final two games of the regular season by getting a win at Kansas and then by beating Texas Tech at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday.

The other part of the equation is more difficult. No. 13 Oklahoma, which sits two games ahead of Iowa State in the standings, then has to lose to both Kansas State and Oklahoma State.  Then Oklahoma State, which is tied with Iowa State with 10 conference wins, has to lose to West Virginia.

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If any of those things fail to happen or if Iowa State loses one of its final two games, the Cyclones are out of the picture for the 2-seed.

It’s a lot to digest, but it’s still an important factor for Fennelly, who is happy that his team is still playing meaningful games this late in the season.

“I think the number one thing is we still have a lot of things that are in play,” Fennelly said. “We’re going through a lot of scenarios next week.”

Just taking care of its own business won’t be easy for Iowa State. That Kansas team the Cyclones take on Wednesday is likely headed to the NCAA tournament. They've also been nearly flawless at home, posting a 12-3 record in Lawrence this season.

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“It’s a team that’s going to be a tough out,” Fennelly said.

With so much uncertainty surrounding Iowa State and how things will shake out at the Big 12 Tournament next week, Fennelly said they’re preparing for multiple scenarios. And unlike in the past, where Baylor was the top team everybody was trying to avoid in the bracket, there appears to be plenty of parity within the league.

Still, a 2-seed is an important achievement for Iowa State. The team is still trying to bolster its resume and get back in the picture of locking up one of the top four seeds needed to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. The Cyclones likely need to win out in the regular season and pick up some wins in Kansas City to do that.

Better seeding could lead to better matchups and an easier path forward.

“We’ll see where it ends up,” Fennelly said.

Tommy Birch, the Register's sports enterprise and features reporter, has been working at the newspaper since 2008. He's the 2018 and 2020 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Reach him at or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: What Iowa State needs to do to lock up a two seed at the Big 12 Tournament