Remember when the VCU Rams won the 11-seed play-in game in 2011 and went all the way to the Final Four? Well, the Iowa State Cyclones have the ability to be that “sleeper” team this year in the NCAA Tournament. Don’t mark this down as a guarantee that the Cyclones will be one of the four remaining teams in the big dance come April, but expect the Cyclones to be a high-powered low seeded team that will make noise in the tourney.
Because of the talent they possess that’s capable to win big this March, the Iowa State has been able to put together a resume worthy of an at-large bid, regardless of how they fair in the Big 12 tournament. In fact, the Cyclones’ win over Oklahoma State this evening sealed the deal on their tourney hopes.
Head coach Fred Hoiberg’s club ranks 54th in official RPI in the nation, but their losses speak to more higher volumes of how talented this group of ballers are.
In the Cyclones’ three defeats at the hands of teams outside of ESPN.com’s Top 50 in RPI, they have lost by an average of 5.7 points per game—in contests that were all on the road.
Of the team’s other seven losses, which come against teams that ESPN.com ranked in the Top 50 in the RPI, five came against teams that were ranked at the time.
Most notably, the Cyclones fell to Kansas in overtime at Allen Fieldhouse following a Ben McLemore banked-35-footer at the buzzer and they also took the Jayhawks to OT in their own house as well.
The Cyclones have played scrappy all season long and have clawed their way to an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The selection committee should recognize that on March 17.