Cyclones sweat out selection show, draw Notre Dame in Big Dance

Chris Williams

Publisher

Photo by Matt Van Winkle

AMES --- Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg hosted a party at his home on Sunday evening for the NCAA Tournament's Selection Show. The Mayor’s basement was packed with players, coaches, managers and media types – all of who were more than confident that Iowa State was guaranteed a spot in the Big Dance.

Iowa State landed as a 10-seed in the West region and will face 7th-seeded Notre Dame on Friday in Dayton, Ohio. But unlike last year when the Cyclones learned of their fate in the first five minutes of the selection show, Iowa State was one of the last team’s that heard its name in 2013. 

“I went up to my room, shut the door and watched the last region by myself up there,” said a relieved Fred Hoiberg. “I saw that one reporter had us as a 98 percent lock and was thinking, “did he know something about that other two percent?’ I was a little nervous at the end but was still confident that we had done enough over the course of the year to get in.” 

The mood in the Hoiberg was tense from the start of the show. When Creighton (where former Iowa State head coach Greg McDermott currently resides) popped up as the tournament’s first 7-seed, everybody in the house was waiting for the ball to drop.

Colorado State (and former Iowa State head coach Larry Eustachy) was another possibly.

Nope. Neither happened and the Cyclones kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

“Last year we were the second game called so yeah, we got a little worried,” said Chris Babb. “When it gets down to the last four or five teams it can get a little nerve-racking.” 

But all is well. Iowa State’s draw could match the Cyclones up with the 2-seed Ohio State in the tournament’s third round. 

The Cyclones on the Irish…

Obviously Iowa State had yet to do any scouting at all on Notre Dame immediately following the selection show, but here are a few comments that the Cyclones made regarding their opponent.

Fred Hoiberg: “Notre Dame is a great program. They always play physical. They play a tough brand of basketball. They shoot the ball well. They have big time wins in a big time conference. It is going to be a great matchup, a tough matchup but we’re looking forward to it.”

Chris Babb: “I’ve watched them play a couple of times. Big East teams are always going to be tough. They are big inside. They execute well on offense and have shooters. We have to come ready to play.”

Georges Niang: “It will be a cool experience playing Notre Dame being as I watched the Big East Tournament my whole life and seeing them play. It’s going to be a good experience going up against them.”

JOTTINGS

*** Niang grew up in New England and because of that, watched a lot of Big East basketball as a kid. One of his favorite players was former Irish star Luke Harangody.

“I watched a lot of Notre Dame when I was going up especially when I had Harangody,” said Niang. “I always watched his game and stuff like that. Big East basketball is hard-nosed basketball. We’re going to have to bring our hard hat and play physical against them.”

Niang also noted that he knows Notre Dame’s Patrick Crowley and Zach Auguste from AAU ball.

*** Hoiberg said that recently he’s gotten to know Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey.

“He is a great coach,” said Hoiberg. “He does a great job of exploiting matchups and putting the guys on the floor in spots where they can be successful. They do a good job on the defensive end as well.”

*** I found this tweet by Notre Dame beat writer (Chicago Tribune) Brian Hamilton interesting.

"#NotreDame dinged with a No. 7 seed. Headed to Dayton, brutal draw with high-scoring Iowa State in first round.”

*** Iowa State is officially the 39th seeded team in the tournament. 

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