2016 NCAA tournament preview: Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State Cyclones

Record: 21-11 (10-8 Big 12)

Head Coach: Steve Prohm (1st season)

Season Recap: In their first season without longtime head coach Fred Hoiberg—who bolted for the same position with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls—the Cyclones began the year ranked in the 10. Despite climbing as high as No. 4, Iowa State had an up-and-down season playing in the very competitive Big 12. The Cyclones started out hot at home—making the most of their usual home-court advantage—and knocked off then-No. 1 Oklahoma and then-No. 4 Kansas on consecutive Mondays. 

But down the stretch, Prohm’s unit struggled against ranked opponents, winning just one of their final six matchups. Still, with an experience-laden roster, Iowa State has had one of the most effective offenses in the nation, ranking third in basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy's adjusted offensive efficiency metric. The Cyclones shoot better than 50 percent from the field as a team and have six players shooting 35.9 percent or better from beyond the 3-point arc. Their balanced offense features seven double-figure scorers—including senior Georges Niang and junior Monte Morris, at 19.8 and 13.9 points per game, respectively. Even without the man known to many as “The Mayor” at the helm, Iowa State has picked up right where it left off after earning a 3-seed in last year’s NCAA tournament.

How they make a run: The Cyclones’ dangerous offense stays hot and proves dangerous in March as Wooden Award finalist Niang leads his team to the tournament’s second weekend and beyond for just the second time in his Iowa State career.

How they falter: A team that has shot very well throughout the regular season goes cold at the wrong time—just as they did in a first-round exit to 14th-seeded Alabama-Birmingham last season, when the Cyclones made just 36.9 percent of their shots from the field and hit only 6-of-23 from downtown.

Mitchell Gladstone | Sports Managing Editor

Twitter: @mpgladstone13

A junior from just outside Philadelphia, Mitchell is probably reminding you how the Eagles won the Super Bowl this year and that the Phillies are definitely on the rebound. Outside of The Chronicle, he majors in Economics, minors in Statistics and is working toward the PJMS certificate, in addition to playing trombone in the Duke University Marching Band. And if you're getting him a sandwich with beef and cheese outside the state of Pennsylvania, you best not call it a "Philly cheesesteak." 


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