Basketball

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi: ISU likely to remain a seven-seed — unless it wins the Big 12 Tourney

Mar 6, 2019; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Lindell Wigginton (5) steals the ball during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports 

How much do conference tournaments impact the NCAA Tournament seeding process?

 Not a lot, ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi said today on a conference call — unless a team wins the whole thing.

 Case in point, Iowa State.

 Lunardi has the Cyclones (20-11) as a seven-seed in the South region playing Seton Hall to open the “Big Dance.”

 “The committee’s made it clear in recent years that a game on Nov. 13 is just as important as a game on March 13,” Lunardi said. “Now, I don’t happen to agree with that, because I think how you’re playing today matters. Four months is a long time. Teams can get better or they get worse, but that’s not the methodology right now.”

 Lunardi spoke in general terms before narrowing his comments to what the Cyclones can potentially do to improve their seeding.

 “I don’t think Iowa State’s gonna move a ton,” Lunardi said. “Short of winning every game, and even that, I don’t think it would do them more than a line or two at the most.”

 The Cyclones enter Thursday’s 11:30 matchup against fourth-seeded Baylor at the Sprint Center on a three-game skid.

 ISU’s also won three of the past five Big 12 Tournaments, so tends to get hot as one-and-done season swings into view.

 “I told them in the locker room, I feel as good right now (as I have in a long time),” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said after Saturday’s tense regular-season closing loss to No. 8 Texas Tech.

Rob Gray

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Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.