Iowa State basketball: Georges Niang ready for final Cy-Hawk showdown
The men's basketball portion of the annual Cy-Hawk series is on deck, which means Iowa State's Georges Niang is at center stage.
It's the senior's last go-round in the rivalry that is one of the defining aspects of his career. After a loss his freshman season, Niang has helped the Cyclones power past the Hawkeyes the last two seasons, with memorable trash talking and taunting helping to mark the occasions.
The final chapter, barring any postseason matchups, comes Thursday at Hilton Coliseum at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
"If I only went 2-2 with Iowa, what's the point of playing?" Niang said with a grin. "Obviously, the goal is to go 3-1."
Niang's mouth and his actions over the last two years are seemingly more notable than a pair of ISU wins. He declared Iowa a "Cyclone State" after a last-second victory at Hilton Coliseum in 2013 and blew a kiss to the the Iowa student section late in a blowout win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena last year in Iowa City.
This will be the last time for the Hawkeyes (7-2) to make Niang eat those words. If they can, it'll certainly be in emphatic fashion with the Cyclones undefeated at 7-0 and possessing a fourth-place ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 and the No. 2 slot in the coaches poll.
"I expect them to come in and try to make it a bloodbath," Niang said, "because obviously, we beat them the last two years and us going into their place [and winning big last year], and I'm sure [the media] are going to put all this trash talk I'm doing now everywhere so it's going to be great bulletin board material.
"I'm sure they're going to give us more than their best shot."
Niang knows the situation he's gotten himself into with the way he's [playfully] acted in this series. A loss would be a humbling outcome and be followed with quite a bit of that trash talk being returned by Iowa fans.
That, though, doesn't faze him.
"I've never felt like I've bit off more than I could chew, ever," Niang said.
It's not something his new coach seems overly concerned about, either.
"I'm the new guy in this rivalry," first-year ISU coach Steve Prohm said, "so I'll just follow their lead."
Niang's teammates also embrace his outspoken nature when it comes to this in-state rivalry.
"Georges is Georges," point guard Monte Morris said. "Everybody in the country knows he's a good player. I think [his bravado] helps the gang get that much more hyped. When he trash talks, we all trash talk."
Niang's actions have mostly backed up his words. He's averaging 20 points on 47 percent shooting along with 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 1.5 blocks in the last two matchups with Iowa.
"I think Iowa fans hate him," Morris said, "but he puts up big numbers on them every year.
"They know he's a problem for them."
Whatever comes next in this final chapter, it's bound to be interesting.
"We feel the rivalry," Niang said, "and I don't want to say hatred but dislike toward that other school.
"That's just what comes with the territory."
Just like the pointed banter that always seems to come from Niang every early December.
"I don't really hold back on anything," he said.
You don't say?
This article was written by Travis Hines from Ames Tribune, Iowa and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.