Someone asked this question long before Iowa State even played the first of its 30 games – a question that today actually has some relevance.

Who’s the Cyclone you’d most want to accompany you down a dark alley?

Dustin Hogue, of course.

“The guy’s just tough, flat-out tough,” teammate Melvin Ejim said.

That’s pertinent in the 16th-ranked Cyclones’ 11:30 a.m. Thursday game against Kansas State in the Big 12 Conference tournament. Everyone expects one of those tough games where anything goes under the basket.

The home team won the two regular-season games, but that’s just an appetizer:

In those games, the teams combined for a whopping 122 points under the basket, 83 fouls, two foul outs, seven others who had four fouls and two technical fouls.

Need more?

Kansas State won the most recent game by seven points. Iowa State won by six in January.

Game on.

“Our game at their place was the most physical game we played this year,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “They do such a good job bodying you up. They try to make you uncomfortable, trying to make you start your offense farther out on the floor.

“They’ll hit you. It’s been like that at Kansas State since I’ve been here.”

Cue Hogue.

“That’s my thing,” the Indian Hills Community College transfer said. “I’m from New York.”

He’s from Yonkers, not exactly the playground capitol of the state, but he’s still New York tough.

“We’d get after it in the park, for sure,” the junior said. “We threw some elbows.”

The 6-foot-6 215-pounder averaged 8.6 rebounds a game, third in the conference, while fighting for space against bigger players. He averaged 12 in the two Kansas State games.

“Just because you’re bigger doesn’t automatically make you a better rebounder,” Hogue said. “It’s how you do it.”

Hogue’s style is somewhat unique, marginally awkward. His body goes everywhere when he sees loose balls, and that includes his legs.

Remember the West Virginia game in which Hogue kicked an opponent in the midsection going all-out for a Sherron Dorsey-Walker missed shot?

Technical foul.

“It’s the way I’ve always done it,” Hogue said. “I’ve always had to find ways to get an edge. No one really thought I’d be where I am today.”