Cyclones set for second consecutive NCAA tournament


Photo: Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

The ISU men’s basketball team waits in anticipation during the 2013 NCAA tournament selection show at ISU coach Fred Hoiberg’s home on March 17, 2013. The Cyclones were announced as a No. 10 seed in the tournament. 

Alex Halsted

When the first three regions of the NCAA tournament bracket were announced Sunday with Iowa State still nowhere to be found, Fred Hoiberg disappeared from the gathering in his basement.

“I was a little nervous there at the end,” Hoiberg said. “I went up to my room, shut the door and watched that last region by myself up there. I saw one reporter had us as a 98-percent lock and I’m thinking, ‘Did he know something with that 2 percent?'”

In the end, Iowa State (22-11, 11-7 Big 12) did get called as it appeared as a No. 10 seed in the tournament opposite No. 7-seeded Notre Dame. The teams will play on Friday in Dayton, Ohio.

The selection to the NCAA tournament is the second consecutive for the Cyclones. Last season, Iowa State entered as a No. 9 seed and defeated No. 8 Connecticut before falling to the No. 1 overall seed and eventual national champion Kentucky.

While the team saw its name pop up on the screen immediately on Selection Sunday last season, the second trip took a little more waiting and anticipation.

“It felt good,” said ISU guard Korie Lucious of seeing Iowa State appear on the bracket. “I don’t really care what our seed was as long as we’re in the tournament. I’m happy to still be playing at this time of the month and this time of the year.”

Following the announcement of the first region, Hoiberg gathered with T.J. Otzelberger, associate head coach, to look over remaining possibilities. Slowly, as Iowa State’s expected seedings continued to pass, the possibilities remaining on the list became more limited.

The Cyclones felt comfortable entering Selection Sunday with a top-50 Rating Percentage Index — a formula that takes into account wins, losses and strength of schedule — which the NCAA selection committee considers strongly when making selections.

If Iowa State advances past Notre Dame (25-9, 11-7 Big East), the team would play either No. 2 Ohio State or No. 15 Iona in the third round of the NCAA tournament. 

“It was brutal sitting there watching,” said ISU forward Georges Niang. “I’m happy that we’re in and we get to play a great Notre Dame team and if we win we get to move on to a great team like Ohio State.”

After the celebration had ended and the questions for Lucious winded down, ISU guard Will Clyburn gathered with the media to ask his teammate one more.

“How do you feel about Dayton, Ohio?” Clyburn asked.

“It’s not where I wanted to be because it’s not hot,” Lucious said jokingly. “But it’ll do.”

The Cyclones are just happy their name did appear on the bracket, sending them to another NCAA tournament.