Women's Basketball

Williams Blog: Fennelly’s fire

By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com PublisherFollow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

CycloneFanatic.com’s coverage of the 2012 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament in Kansas City is proudly brought to you by our good friends at Wilson Toyota of Ames located at 2212 South Duff Ave. in Ames. 

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KANSAS CITY — An NCAA Tournament in Ames, without Iowa State in it…

That is Bill Fennelly’s worst nightmare.

“Besides anything that happens in my personal life, that would be the worst thing ever. The worst," said Fennelly. "There is not a day that I have not thought about that. Since it was announced that we were hosting. Seriously."

In mid-January, Iowa State’s fate seemed a bit dicey. After facing the toughest five game stretch imaginable to begin the Big 12 season, Fennelly’s Cyclones began the 2012 campaign with an 0-5 record.

He won’t admit it but when it comes to making the Big Dance for the sixth season in a row, Iowa State (18-11, 9-9) is in good shape heading into Thursday’s Big 12 Conference Tournament opener against Kansas State (11 a.m.).

"We’re in a better position than we were three weeks ago to talk about that," said Fennelly. "But if on March 12 and our name doesn’t show up, I hope my assistants run into my office and get the sharp objects out of it. And luckily the Sukup is not a tall building. There’s nothing worse than that. Nothing.”

More quotes from Fennelly on this madness that is the month of March…

On "Bracketology"…

“I do it all the time. It drives my wife crazy. I’m crunching numbers all of the time and trying to figure stuff out. I don’t think that the committee will ask for my opinion. Any coach who says they don’t pay attention…unless you’re Baylor. Then I guess you don’t care…Most of us are paying attention and trying to figure out what, where, you don’t know if you’re in or out or seeding…All of that stuff. I do pay attention to it. I always have. I like that part of it. It’s fun. Some people are recruiting geeks. I guess I am a numbers geek when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.”

On the Big 12 women’s tournament being separated from the men next year…

“I’m very sad about it. It’s like at home. My wife doesn’t care about my opinion and the Big 12 doesn’t care about my opinion. I think it is a terrible decision. I go into the Big 12 meetings every year and I say I will vote right now to switch it. I think that fans like it. With the economy the way it is and people’s discretionary income the way it is, to make them pick and choose…I think it is a great event. It’s a celebration of Big 12 basketball. We get a lot of the attention, men and women. I’m probably in the minority.”

“They want it to be on its own. They didn’t think it was getting enough attention. They blame you guys. Everybody blames the media. You’ve got to blame somebody. You’re it. You didn’t cover it enough. Whatever enough. It’s second-fiddle to the men’s tournament. Second-fiddle to the men’s tournament? Yeah. It’s always going to be that way. But when you’re in the same spot, you still get a lot of attention and a lot of fans.”

On the ISU men’s and women’s teams not playing at the same time…

“It’s a big deal. When the tournament is structured the way that it is, now our fans can come down on Thursday to watch us play, get loosened up in the afternoon and go watch the guys that night. It would have been hard for our fans. We probably are one of the unique teams in the Big 12 where we have a great crossover fan base. This tournament is about our fans have always loved going down there with the whole Hilton South stuff. Now they get to support two teams and I think that is exciting. We’re going to take our team to the game on Thursday night. That’s what this is about. It was a residual win that bonused us and most people weren’t thinking about but I certainly was.”