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Basketball

Notebook: No Niang cut Hoiberg’s playbook in half

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SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Iowa State’s preparation for Sunday’s 85-83 NCAA Tournament Round of 32 victory over 6th seeded North Carolina was a bear. For starters, game prep for any team with the talent level of the Tar-Heels on one day’s rest is a major chore.

Then, there was the factor of not having Georges Niang. 

“I have a whole side of my play card dedicated to Georges,” Fred Hoiberg said. “To have to throw that out the window today and drop a couple of new actions to put in was something that obviously you are a little nervous about with 36 hours to prepare for a game.”

Iowa State, a team that overall has a fairly high basketball IQ, was somewhat prepared for the quick turnaround. Thank those Saturday to Monday turnarounds during Big 12 play for that.

“We played a lot of Saturday/Monday games this year and our guys go out and execute,” Hoiberg said. “We were confident with one day. We put in some complicated things out there for our guys to go out and compete and that’s exactly what they did.” 

The Cyclones didn’t spend their Saturday on the floor much. It was mostly in the film room and in meetings.

“We couldn’t do a lot with those guys because a lot of them played big minutes against North Carolina Central,” Hoiberg said. “We knew those guys would have to play big minutes again today. We did a lot of walking and talking. We put in a few actions and our guys picked things up very well.”

Cyclones favored

Iowa State is an early one-point favorite over UConn in the Sweet 16. KenPom.com has UConn favored by a point. 

It’s a toss-up. 

The Cyclones and the Huskies will tip at 6:27 (central) on Friday at Madison Square Garden. 

Again, Scott Drew loves the Cyclones

After Iowa State’s win over North Carolina and before Baylor put a whooping on Creighton, Bear head coach Scott Drew stuck his head in the Cyclone locker room and yelled, “Way to go Cyclones! We were rooting hard for you!”

The Cyclones were served Dominos Pizza after the big win.  

Unsung hero…

His zero point, four-rebound stat line was modest, but give junior Daniel Edozie some credit. In place of Niang, the big man made his first college start on Sunday and played 16 important minutes along the way. 

“I just had to stay calm and be poised throughout yesterday’s practice,” Edozie said. “I did a lot of mental preparation so I wouldn’t be nervous.”

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