Iowa State Cyclones
Record: 28-7 (11-7 in Big 12)
Second Round: Defeated North Carolina Central 93-75
Third Round: Defeated North Carolina 85-83
ReportDespite losing one of their most important players, Georges Niang, the Iowa State Cyclones find themselves in the Sweet 16 for just the first time since 2000. The Big 12 Champions have gotten hot at the right time, winners of six straight now. En route to their first Big 12 Championship since 2000, the Cyclones defeated Kansas State 91-85, Kansas 94-83 behind Senior DeAndre Kane’s 22 points, and Baylor 74-65, led again by Kane.
In the non-conference portion of their schedule, Iowa State went 12-0 with signature wins over then ranked #7 Michigan and #23 Iowa. Against Michigan, the Cyclones won 77-70 with Senior Melvin Ejim coming off the bench with a 22 point 9 rebound performance. Against Iowa, it was Ejim again, pouring in 22 points in an 85-82 victory. In Big 12 play, Iowa State beat a total of five ranked teams at the time despite being swept by Kanas.
Statistically, Iowa State is in high ranking in most offensive categories. The Cyclones are 6th in the nation in PPG at 82.9 as they like to run up and down the court and shoot the three. They rank 1st in the nation in assists per game with 18.5 mostly due to finding teammates in transition. Iowa State also shoots at a very high percentage of 47.1% for 40th in the nation. To go along with points, assists and FG%, they rank 23rd in rebounds per game with 38.8 even though they do not have someone over 6-8 who plays signature minutes. Despite ranking 6th in points per game, Iowa State gives up 74.2 points per game which ranks 284th in the nation. This point allowed is mostly due to them scoring quickly.
As many fans know, Niang, who was averaging 16.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.6 APG, is out for the rest of the year with a fractured foot that he suffered in their second round win over North Carolina Central. With Niang out, the Cyclones are short-handed when it comes to their bench as they now have a 6 or 7 man rotation and need bench production to step up significantly. We will now look at four of the Iowa State starters along with their 6th man, Naz Long:#50 DeAndre Kane, Senior, G, (6-4, 200 pounds): Is a stat sheet stuffer as he is averaging 17.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 5.8 APG on the year. While he is a 39.4% shooter from three, he only shoots 65.1% from the free throw line. Kane is averaging 19 PPG, 8.5 RPG and 6.0 APG in Iowa State’s first two NCAA Tournament games, including the game-winning layup against North Carolina. #3 Melvin Ejim, Senior, F, (6-6, 200 pounds): The Big 12 Player of the Year, he leads the team in PPG with 18.1 while also being the team’s second leading rebounder with 8.1 per game. Ejim shoots a high percentage from the field at 51.3% while shooting a respectable 34.4% from three. He is averaging 18.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG in the first two NCAA Tournament games. #22 Dustin Hogue, Junior, F, (6-6, 215 pounds): The last of the 3 players to average double digits (not including Niang), he averages 10.9 PPG while also leading the team in rebounding at 8.5 per game. Although he is not one of Iowa State’s first options, he shoots 55.6% from the field. Hogue is averaging 14.5 PPG and 6.0 RPG in the first two NCAA Tournament games. #15 Naz Long, Sophomore, G, (6-4, 205 pounds): The 6th man for the Cyclones, he is the team’s main three-point threat. Over the course of the season he only averaged 7.1 PPG but shot extremely well from deep as he was 63-154 on the year for a 40.9%. Long is averaging 8.5 PPG in the two NCAA Tournament games while shooting 41.7% from three. #11 Monte Morris, Freshman, G, (6-2, 170 pounds): Shared backcourt duties with Kane during the year and averaged 6.6 PPG, 3.7 APG and 1.3 steals per game. He is the team’s best free throw shooter at 84.7%. Morris is averaging 14.0 PPG during the first two NCAA Tournament games while going 4-5 from three.
Iowa State is coached by “The Mayor” Fred Hoiberg who is in his 4th season with the Cyclones where he is 90-46. He has now made the Tournament three years in a row, as he made it to the Third Round in both 2012 and 2013. Before Iowa State, he held a front office position with the Timberwolves after finishing a 10 year career in the NBA. Hoiberg averaged 5.4 PPG for his career while shooting 39.6% from three while playing for the Pacers, Bulls and Timberwolves. In high school, he was named “Mr. Basketball” in the state of Iowa and went on to play for Iowa State where he scored a career 1,993 points.