Selection Monday is here.
As of March 10, ESPNW’s Charlie Creme had the Cyclones in the NCAA Tournament. However, that is also part of his “last four in.”
That means Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly and his program will be sweating out the committee’s decision tonight during the women’s selection show.
“What I think has (Iowa State) in the tournament is the way they finished,” Creme said on a conference call late last week. “Primarily I think everybody could point to the fact that winning at Texas right near the end of the regular season to me that elevated them in.”
On Feb. 24, Iowa State traveled to Austin and defeated the then-No. 6 Texas Longhorns, 70-66, thanks to Seanna Johnson’s 22 points and Bridget Carleton’s 18.
Creme also noted that the Cyclones finished the season with five straight wins as another reason he has them in the tournament currently.
Still, Iowa State isn’t a “true lock” for the tournament.
“Well in terms of what would stop Iowa State from getting into the tournament, well first of all overall record is not great,” Creme said. “And they were kind of languishing there for quite some time. The non-conference schedule wasn’t great…But if they were not to make the tournament, I would just point to those, the rough stretch they had kind of mid-season in the Big 12 and the fact that they didn’t do anything significance at all in the non-conference.”
Creme finally noted that it is hard to find any team on “the bubble” that elevated their resume more than the Cyclones did at the end of the year.
If Iowa State were to get into the tournament, ESPN Women’s basketball analyst Andy Landers believes it could make some noise.
“There’s only a handful of teams who really play a matchup zone and Iowa State is one of them,” Landers said. “I think that that defense can present real problems for people who have not gone against it, and let’s face, if there’s only a handful of teams playing it, they probably haven’t gone against it. That can present real problems for the opponent. Because they are unfamiliar with that and here you are in the tournament, and you’re scheming and game planning for something that you typically don’t go against.”
In 20 seasons with Iowa State, Fennelly has guided the Cyclones to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a pair of Elite Eights berths and five trips to the Sweet 16.
“You understand how to prepare a team, how to get a team to maintain focus, to listen, and that improves their ability to advance,” Landers said. “So Bill’s experience there – and then of course on the offensive end end, Iowa State typically is a team that can hurt you with some balance, but they usually are very good with the three ball and out on the perimeter.”