AMES, Iowa - Bryan Kinneer - better known as "BK" around Ames - runs the West Towne Pub in Cyclone Country. He says his bar has become a traditional watering hole for Cyclone fans who can't make it to the big game in person.
"We've been here 11 years, I graduated from here. Shelly and I love the Cyclones," he said. "It's such a tradition for Iowa State to win the Big 12 tournament. So, it's just as important to us - it's pride."
Getting past that first game Thursday in the Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinals was the nail-biting factor for Cyclone fans in Ames; some of them go to school at Iowa State University, and are hoping to go out with a bang in their senior year.
"Our freshman and sophomore year, we did pretty well, and last year we kind of struggled, and it sucked to watch us lose right away, and have to wait it out until the NCAA Tournament," said Meghan Orr, a senior. "So, it'll be fun to see where we get this year."
Fans call it a sort of "Pregame" to March Madness. Cyclone fans can rest easy knowing their team is going to the NCAA Tournament next week regardless, but winning the Big 12 Tournament just before that would be icing on the cake.
"I just think that the Big 12 tournament is still really important to us and our fans," said Trent Pease, a senior. "And even though we don't get a prize out of it, since we didn't win the Big 12 outright, this still is a statement, for sure, especially headed into the Big Dance."
With that narrow victory over Oklahoma State Thursday, the Iowa State Cyclones have proven to their fans that the show will go on. But is this win enough to get these seniors into a car headed to Kansas City?
"Oh yeah," said Erica Sutton, a senior."If someone gave me $50 for gas, I'd be down there in a heartbeat!"