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Basketball

MONDAY MUSINGS: ISU’s Tournament profile is picking up the pace

Dec 1, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm reacts during the first half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Cincinnati won 55-54. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With a guaranteed nine conference wins, Iowa State is all but a lock to make the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Knowing that, this is the time of year when the bracket projections are fun to following.

My general rule: Pay attention to seeding and not specific opponents or game locations. Those tend to be a crapshoot.

Before I get to where the “experts” have Iowa State right now, this is what I’m really paying close attention to: The difference between a six, seven and eight seed for the Cyclones. 

The goal here is for Iowa State to not only get to March, but at the very least make it to the second weekend.

We call can agree that Iowa State is playing like a Sweet 16 team right now, right?

The 6-3 upset happens a lot more often than a 7-2.

It’s common sense that you want to avoid that 8-9 game if all possible.

It’s also worth noting that this year’s field looks awful balanced. Joe Lunardi currently has Duke and Kentucky as three-seeds, which should tell you all you need to know about the depth of the field.

A lot of really good teams – fewer great ones.

PREVIEW: Tough task to win at Tech

ESPN PROJECTIONS

Lunardi has a little green arrow next to Iowa State, who he tabs as a 7-seed vs. USC in the East Region (Indianapolis). That sets up a potential matchup vs. Rick Pitino and Louisville in the Round of 32.

CBS PROJECTIONS

Jerry Palm, who always seems to have Iowa State listed lower than any other bracket guy, still has the Cyclones on the 8-9 line. He’s got Iowa State as an 8-seed in the West with a potential matchup vs. Gonzaga in the Round of 32. Again, I don’t pay too much attention to specific opponents in these things but if Iowa State is going to land on the 8-9 line, I’d be fine with getting another crack at the Zags. This team is due to lose and Iowa State should have beaten them in Florida last November.

Other notes

The consensus over at Bracket Matrix is that right now, Iowa State is an 8-seed. But given who is left on the schedule, if the Cyclones win even two of their final four games, I don’t see them getting stuck on the 8-9 line.

— Iowa State made and appearance in Gary Parrish’s (top 25 plus one) today. 

This is a really good read from Seth Davis over at Sports Illustrated, who anonymously got scouting reports of every Big 12, Big Ten and ACC projected tournament teams from league assistant coaches.

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