After a year away from the NCAA Tournament, Iowa State looks poised to return to the Big Dance this season.
Selection Sunday is less than a week away. While the Big 12 Tournament is still to come, bracket projections are underway and the experts have varied opinions on Iowa State’s tournament resumé.
Perhaps the biggest key for Iowa State is its lack of bad losses. The Cyclones have 11 losses on the season, but all of them fall under the category of Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 2, according to the NCAA team sheets.
Iowa State’s strength of schedule is 31st in the nation as of Monday afternoon.
The Cyclones have several key wins, including victories over both Big 12 regular season champions on the road (Kansas State and Texas Tech).
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Cyclones sitting as a 7 seed in his March 11 bracket. The Cyclones’ first opponent would be Seton Hall, which finished the regular season at 18-12 (9-9 Big East).
Iowa State would likely take on 2 seed Duke in the second round with a win. The first two rounds in this bracket have the Cyclones playing in Columbia, South Carolina.
Lunardi has eight Big 12 teams making the Big Dance, ranging from 3 seed Texas Tech to 12 seed Texas Christian (TCU).
CBS bracketologist Jerry Palm has the Cyclones heading to Columbus, Ohio, as an 8 seed where they would take on the Syracuse Orange in the first round. The winner would likely take on one-seeded Kentucky.
CBS has seven Big 12 teams making the cut.
The CBS bracket could feature a potential Big 12 rematch with Kansas State in the Sweet 16 or a CyHawk rematch in the Elite 8.
Bracket Matrix, a website dedicated to bracketology, has the Cyclones as the second 7 seed with a 6.83 seed average over dozens of brackets.
Bracketologists have Iowa State anywhere from a 5 seed to a 10 seed.
The Cyclones could play their way up a couple seeds with a strong performance in Kansas City this week, too. Iowa State would need a win over Baylor to advance to Friday’s games. The Cyclones would likely take on 1 seed Kansas State at that point, followed by a likely rematch with Kansas or Texas Tech in Saturday’s finale.
Source: Iowa State Daily