CF Mailbag: NCAA Tournament edition

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The home of the Alamo. It is a glorious place. After setting my alarm for a pleasant 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday, I landed in San Antonio mid-morning Wednesday and will be saddled up in Texas until Monday covering your beloved Iowa State Cyclones.

You know, I’ve had a heck of a time on Twitter the last couple of days because of this. Last year at this time, the crew of media that covers Iowa State was in beautiful (sarcasm) Dayton, Ohio. Full disclosure: It was honestly the worst town I have ever visited in my 29 short years of life.

So when the Iowa Hawkeyes were dealt the fate of heading to Dayton on Selection Sunday, I tweeted, “Enjoy Dayton, Hawks.” Predictably, the Hawkeye Nation was not amused. 

Kinda of trollish, right? Yeah, I agree but I swear that isn’t what I mean to do. I meant it like, “Have fun boys. We had to endure that place a year ago.” 

No harm. Well after having my third Shiner of the afternoon on Wednesday at a fantastic English pub on the River Walk, I tweeted, “San Antonio > Dayton.”

Of course, Hawk fan came out in full force once again. The thing is, I meant nothing towards Iowa at all – again. In fact, I forgot that the Hawks were even playing (more proof that the “First Four” means nothing).

What’s my point? It’s that San Antonio, Texas is an outstanding place to spend five days in March. It’s a heck of a lot better than where the Cyclones got dealt a year ago. But I am here to work so let’s get this trip started with an NCAA Tournament Cyclone Fanatic Mailbag. 

Isufan writes: Pretend for a second that ISU does make it to the Final 4:Who are the teams we beat on our way? Providence or UNC? UConn or Villanova? Michigan State?

CW: I can already tell you right now that my bracket is going to suck. It always does. But earlier this week, I filled out my bracket and gave my thoughts on each game during the latest installment of the Cyclone Fanatic Podcast that you can listen to by CLICKING HERE.

My route for the Cyclones (who I indeed did pick to make the Final Four) was: NC-Central, North Carolina, UConn and Michigan State.

CycloneErik writes: Obvious one: How far does our team go? Is it time to book that trip to Dallas? Will they rename that building Freddy’s World?

CW: I went “homer” with my bracket. Honestly though, I didn’t. I was 100 percent logical with my taking of Iowa State to the Final Four. There isn’t a team in that region that the Cyclones cannot beat.

However, I’d way to book the trip to Dallas. Do it on the cheap. Call up my guy Tron Smith at Wilson Toyota of Ames (shameless plug) and get yourself a Prius. Just drive to Dallas. Not a bad trip at all. That’s what I will do should the Cyclones go the distance.

CRcyclone6 writes: How much do you love March Madness, especially when ISU is playing? Will Daniel Edozie make some plays on the run to the Final Four?

CW: I really, really, really, really love March Madness. When Iowa State is playing, I really, really, really, really, really love it (that’s one more really – really).

I loved what we all saw out of big Daniel Edozie last week in Kansas City. I’m actually kind of surprised that Fred Hoiberg didn’t use the big man in that role earlier this season. He did early (BYU) but Edozie didn’t see much action during the middle portion of the season. I’ll tell you what I love about Daniel; he works his rear off. Watch him play when he’s in the game. It’s all-out, all the time. The big man has little to no skills offensively but can absolutely contribute on the glass and defensively. He proved himself against top-notch competition last week and I fully expect that to continue this weekend.

Burn587 writes: What would you call the defining moment of this season that turned it from a very good year to a special season?

CW: It became a special season when Iowa State cut down the nets in Kansas City. Otherwise, we’re talking about a team that went 11-7 in the Big 12 (granted, the Big 12 was brutal this year and Iowa State overachieved according to preseason expectations). Nobody saw a Big 12 Tournament championship coming though. When Iowa State started 12-0, the Cyclones looked like a good tournament basketball team. After the regular season, Iowa State looked like a team that might be able to make a run to the Sweet 16. After last week, Iowa State is a legitimate national title contender.

You all agree?

Bigman38 writes: Who is more dangerous in the second round, a hot Providence, or the talented roller coaster that is North Carolina? 

CW: Fantastic question. You’re right about Providence. Like Kate Upton, the Friars are smoking hot. But North Carolina is easily the more dangerous team of the two. The Tar-Heels have Final Four talent. They probably aren’t a Final Four team, but the talent is there. Providence does not have Final Four talent. Easy answer here. North Carolina scares me more than Providence.

What do you call the Tuesday & Wednesday games? Are they the first round or play in games? (Hint: They’re play in games)

CW: They are play in games.

Bret44 writes: When Iowa State cuts down the nets in Dallas, will there be any Busch Light left in the greater Arlington area?



Wait…What…Did you say something?

Nuts4Cy writes: Can Roy Williams kick us in the groin again or do we finally get revenge after taking HB (and others) away from us? This game scares me more than most because they like to run as much as we do. 

CW: Let me tell you something, "Nuts4Cy." 

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And Bill Self. And Tad Boyle. And Lon Kruger. And probably Roy Williams. This game should scare you. That’s a lot of talent and an elite coach. 

Gunnerclone writes: When we make a run to the Sweet 16 and beyond, who is going to be the MVP? Will playing teams that aren’t familiar with us give Mel some breathing room that teams in the B12 have been taking away and allow him to go off? 

CW: A guy who seems to always step up in the biggest moments, Georges Niang.

Also, did you know that Georges Niang played with Nerlens Noel in high school and that is where he learned to get his shot off over taller big men? 

CW: Wait…Georges Niang played prep ball with Nerlens Noel?