Posted on: March 13, 2010 12:54 am
Edited on: March 13, 2010 1:00 am
Friday's afternoon and early evening sessions had their fair share of excitement with Evan Turner's buzzer-beater, John Wall's heroics, Lehigh's berth-clinching win and San Diego's upset of New Mexico. The madness didn't end at sundown, though, and three of the major conferences packed in the drama in their late games. Here's what you missed:
Minnesota upsets Michigan State - It took an extra period, but Tubby Smith's team was finally able to put away Michigan State in the Big 10 tournament semifinals on Friday, keeping their NCAA tourney hopes alive.
For the Golden Gophers, taking the lead wasn't the problem. It was holding on to it and closing out the Spartans that seemed to be difficult. Minnesota took a 13-12 lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half and wouldn't trail again until Michigan State scored the first points of the overtime period. When Raymar Morgan's bucket fell through the net with a whistle on the play, it seemed as if the Gophers' opportunity was gone. After all, they were up seven with 3:30 to go and wouldn't score again, missing five shots and committing one turnover in their six possessions down the stretch. They had their shot and now Michigan State was finally ready to take this game.
But, to their credit, Tubby's troops did not fold and countered Morgan's "And One" and Michigan State's three-point lead with a 10-0 run. By the time the dust settled, all the Spartans could do was foul and, all of a sudden, Tubby Smith's team looked to have new post-season life.
The Gophers will now take their shot at a Robbie Hummel-less Purdue squad Saturday - the same one they lost to by just one point a couple of weeks ago. As of now, the Gophers could be in or they could be out. A win over Purdue would likely lock up an at-large berth for them.
West Virginia holds off Notre Dame - Just 24 hours removed from Da'Sean Butler's buzzer beater saving them from the early tourney exit of their fellow Big East top seeds, West Virginia was almost victimized by a similar shot.
But, when Tory Jackson's three caught rim and bounced around, running out the final four seconds of clock, what is shaping up to be a fairly magical run for Bob Huggins' team stood intact. The Mountaineers, the only one of the top four seeds to win their first game Thursday, now have only Georgetown, a team they blew out two weeks ago, standing between them and a Big East tournament title.
Saturday's matchup at the Garden will have more at stake than a conference title for the Mountaineers, though. If WVU beats the Hoyas again and Duke falters in an ACC tournament that's even more pathetic than we thought, they will likely be staring a #1 seed in the face. Even if the Blue Devils win the ACC, the Mountaineers still have the opportunity to jump them for that top seed. They just need to make sure they bring their "A" game to the Garden Saturday. Winning because a buzzer beater catches rim isn't a good way to show it.
Kansas State puts away Baylor - The Big 12 semifinal between Kansas and Baylor didn't have any last possession or overtime drama, but it had the feel for 38 minutes that it would be decided by whoever had the ball last. But, with two minutes left, Jacobham Pullen eliminated all doubt with a clutch three-pointer.
Baylor looked like they were going to snatch one from the Wildcats after Ekpe Udoh's dunk cut the lead to two with just under four minutes to go. On Kansas State's next possession, a blocked shot by Quincy Acy got the ball back to Baylor who drew a foul. Senior leader Tweety Carter, who had an awful game, stepped to the line, down two, and clanked both free throws. Kansas State came down and Pullen hit the three that sucked the life from the Bears and put them away for good.
The Wildcats will now advance to their first Big XII title game and face off against rival Kansas, who they've both pushed to overtime and been blown out by this year. Their seedings might already be set for the most part, but you can expect emotions to be very, very high in Kansas City tomorrow.
Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 1:05 pm
Unlike their major conference brothers, the Big XII quarterfinals went as expected Thursday and held all the suspense of a gun battle on The A Team, with all four top seeds advancing to the semifinals. On Friday, the conference’s four ranked and already tournament bound teams will square off in games that matter only for seeding purposes. Here’s what you missed yesterday while you were threatening Elton John.
#1 Kansas 80, #9 Texas Tech 68
#4 Texas A & M 70, #12 Nebraska 64
#2 Kansas State 83, #7 Oklahoma State 64
#3 Baylor 86, #6 Texas 67
TEAM OF THE DAY
The Baylor Bears are for real. Thursday brought a change in repetitive college basketball phrase du jour from “passing the eye test” to some variation of how hard it is to beat a team three times in one season, thanks largely to Baylor’s attempt to beat Texas for the third time.
The Bears didn't make it look all that difficult. It might be time for a new phrase.
James was already losing it early in the second half, already getting into confrontations with Dunn and Carter on two occasions, when Dunn took the ball to the hole and made the layup and got fouled by James. Already being smothered by a Bears’ run, James went into meltdown mode and got T’ed up, went to the bench and screamed at teammates and was never remotely useful again.
Baylor will now face Kansas State in the semifinals, a team that has a very similar makeup to their own. The battle between the backcourts of Carter and Dunn and Jacobham Lincoln and Denis Clemente has the potential for some March magic. Make sure you tune in.
STUD OF THE DAY
If history is the best predictor of the future, then Jamar Samuels didn’t have a shot against Oklahoma State Thursday. In a loss to the Cowboys on January 23rd, the Kansas State sophomore fouled out in only 13 minutes and contributed an anemic 5 points and one lonesome rebound. On Thursday, though, Samuels got sweet revenge in the Wildcats’ blowout of Travis Ford’s team, pouring in 27 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. In an 8-minute frenzy at the end of the first half, the Wildcats put the Cowboys away for good behind 13 ofSamuels’ 21 first half points. That’s what you call solid bench play.
DUD OF THE DAY
Needing a win to secure themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament and facing a highly ranked team that they had already defeated, Oklahoma State had every reason to look forward to their game with Kansas State. Somewhere at around the 8:30 mark of the first half, though, Travis Ford’s squad crapped after cutting the Wildcat lead to 27-23. Kansas State closed the half on a 24-3 run and the Oklahoma State bench hung their mohawks in disappointment. After about 200 misses from downtown by James Anderson and 20 more minutes of inconsequential basketball, it was time to head back to Stillwater, one of the few places that make Kansas City appear as the “Paris of the Plains”. I expect defections.
2000: AN AFTERTHOUGHT
Kentucky was the first NCAA team to race past 2,000 wins earlier this year and celebrated with t-shirts, speeches from Adolph Rupp’s son and a dancing DeMarcus Cousins. North Carolina got theirs and hoped no one would notice how far they’d fallen, barely making mention. Kansas? They were somewhere in between the two when they wrapped up Win2K in Kansas City. They talked about the historical significance of the win, but made sure that everyone knew their focus went far beyond any pomp and circumstance (if any) that comes with that magical number.
STARS OF THE DAY
Jamar Samuels (Kansas State) - 27 points, 10 rebounds
LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor) - 19 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists
Cole Aldrich (Kansas) - 12 points, 18 rebounds, 3 blocks
Ekpe Udoh (Baylor) – 25 points, 8 rebounds
James Anderson (Oklahoma State) - 27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen (Kansas State) – combined for 31 points and 13 assists
Donald Sloan (Texas A&M) – 23 points
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I think it does speak volumes worth of history and tradition of the program. We’re very proud of it. It hasn’t been a big point of emphasis for this team, but I think the guys respect the past enough to know it’s a big deal.” – Kansas coach Bill Self on getting win number 2000
THE DAY AHEAD
#1 Kansas vs. #4 Texas A&M (7:30 pm)
#2 Kansas State vs. #3 Baylor (9:00 pm)
Posted on: March 12, 2010 12:16 am
Edited on: March 12, 2010 1:17 am
After what already seems to be four to five weeks of conference tournaments in our rear view mirror, Selection Sunday is now coming up on the horizon and things are starting to sort themselves out a bit. On Thursday, some teams were relegated to the bubble and prayers (Memphis) while some teams continued their post-season hoops hopes (Notre Dame). With 27 games on the docket for Friday, including the Patriot League Championship, answers are certain to be headed the way of all college basketball fans. Before we get started, though, let's look back at what turned out to be a big-time Thursday in the world of college basktball.
Will the Onuaku injury affect seeding? - Perhaps the biggest story on Thursday (besides Syracuse's loss) was the injury suffered by Syracuse big man Arinze Onuaku which, depending on who you talk to, is either major or minor. Onuaku will have an MRI on Friday and the results will be available….probably after the seeding is announced. Especially if it’s serious. Regardless of what the injury turns out to be, you’d have to assume the Orange is fairly safe with their #1 seed. What they need to be more concerned about, however, is how a team that is now essentially only six-deep is going to respond in a two games in three days tournament setting.
The Big Names are Done - It was really only a matter of time until they all bid adieu to this year’s college basketball season, but a trio of big name programs finally had the final nail placed in their post-season coffin on Thursday. North Carolina jumped out to a double-digit lead against Georgia Tech and then came out in the second half looking all North Carolina-like and gave the game away. Tom Crean’s Indiana Revival, still sputtering along in year two, took a thumping at the hands of mighty Northwestern while Arizona’s run of 25 straight NCAA tourney appearances came to an end (after two years of undeserved bids) against another traditional power on life support, UCLA. They say things are going to get better. I say at least they didn’t give up like UConn. I am worried about Sean Miller, though. The losses seem to be taking their toll and he’s gone from looking like a sober Billy Gillispie to Texas A&M Billy Gillispie. That’s not a good trend.
If a tree falls in the Staples Center, does it make a sound? - The national media wrote the Pac-10 off a long, long time ago. Surprisingly, the Pac-10 fans apparently have done the same. Outside of the Salt Lake City's Megaplex 12 during the premiere of I Got the Hookup, it’s possible that no venue has ever been so empty for such a fan-friendly event. I watched Oregon and Washington’s overtime affair Wednesday night (a great game) while feeding my son and the Staples Center appeared to have about only 7-8 people more than my couch. When UCLA plays in their home city and can’t get fans, you know it’s bad. However, the Pac-10 tournament did introduce me to Rebecca Haarlow, so it can’t be all bad, right?
Coaching redemption in C-USA - With John Calipari gone from Memphis, the national spotlight has dimmed significantly on the only official conference of the United States. UTEP seized the opportunity and grabbed the regular season title with a 15-1 record, but it’s a couple of underdog coaches that are making the most of their chances. Seventh-seeded Houston coach Tom Penders is being reported as a dead man walking whose employment only lasts as long as his team’s season. After an upset of second-seeded Memphis, it lasts another day. His semifinal opponent, Southern Miss, is coached by another recognizable name trying to make the most of his situation. Larry Eustachy, the disgraced former Iowa State coach, has made steady improvements in his sixth season in Hattiesberg and brought home his 20th win in an upset of UAB (and their former big name coach Mike Davis). By Friday evening, one of these two maligned coaches will be one win away from going dancing.
Jimmer! - Obviously wanting to prove that Montana's Anthony Johnson isn't the only guy out west who can fill it up, BYU junior Jimmer Fredette poured in a Mountain West tournament record 45 points in a win over TCU. Fredette, who had been battling strep throat, mono, a stomach virus, typhoid fever, the mumps, pink eye, an ingrown toenail and Osgood Schlatter's disease, returned to the lineup with a bang, though I feel his 45 points are cheapened a bit by 23 made free throws. Anthony Johnson wouldn't do that. But, I do respect The Jimmer for his honesty displayed in this interview, perhaps the most honest in college basketball history (fast forward to 3:45).
The Almosts - Oh, how close they came. Air Force and LSU, winners of a combined three conference games, pushed a pair of highly ranked teams to the brink. LSU gave Bruce Pearl and Tennessee all they could handle before fading down the stretch and Air Force lost a heartbreaker to New Mexico, 75-69. I wish we could say some inspiring things to both teams but there’s nothing left to say. Except maybe to just clean out their lockers. You don’t want this season lingering any longer than it has to.
The other #1 seeds take the floor Friday - On Thursday, Syracuse fell to Georgetown and Kansas got a good little push from Texas Tech. On Friday, the presumed other two top seeds, Kentucky and Duke, take the floor and try to get used to their dancing shoes. Duke will square off with Virginia, a team that once lead the conference and snapped a nine-game losing streak Thursday, in a game where they’ll be heavily favored. With West Virginia still in contention for a Big East title, the Dukies might have to win the ACC tournament to keep their top seed. Meanwhile, John Calipari will lead his troops against Alabama in his first ever SEC tournament game. The Cats beat the Tide on February 9 and shouldn’t encounter much trouble. However, they then will likely face Tennessee and Vanderbilt in loseable games. Their #1 footing is more solid than Duke’s, but it's important that the young Cats get comfortable in the post-season tournament setting before embarking on the what is shaping up to be a journey full of very high expectations.
Illinois vs. Wisconsin 2:00 pm
* denotes championship game
Posted on: March 11, 2010 9:47 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 9:48 pm
Upset Thursday continued in the Big East as No. 7 Notre Dame eliminated second-seeded Pittsburgh, 50-45. Tory Jackson hit 4-of-6 threes to score 12 points and Luke Harangody came off the bench to add 12 more as the Fighting Irish won back-to-back games in the Big East Tournament for the first time in program history.
The loss dropped teams which had earned double-byes into the quarterfinals to 0-3, with only third-seeded West Virginia left to take the court.
After advancing to the championship game in four straight seasons, the loss marked the second straight one-and-done tournament for the Panthers, who were also the No. 2 seed in 2009.
Notre Dame's newfound commitment to defense was on full display again, as they held Pitt to their lowest point total of the season. The Irish have now held five of their past six opponents to 54 points or fewer. They've won all six games over that span and leapt from NIT-bound to single-digit NCAA Tournament seed.
Georgia Tech went ahead and put the bullet in the head of the gravely injured animal that was North Carolina's 2009-2010 season, knocking the Tar Heels out of the ACC Tournament by a final score of 62-58.
The Yellow Jackets, playing with their season on the line, trailed by ten at the break but a monster second half by star freshman Derrick Favors helped keep them (most likely) in the dance for the time being. Favors finished with a game-high 18 points.
Kansas State began its three-day case for a one seed by completely humiliating Oklahoma State, 83-64 in a game they led by as many as 33. Jamar Samuels scored 21 of his career-high 27 points in the first half.
The Cowboys are still almost certainly in the field of 65, but the loss - which came just a day after an impressive rout of rival Oklahoma - may have knocked them down a seeding row or two.
OTHER MAJOR CONFERENCE GAMES I WATCHED ZERO SECONDS OF
Elsewhere, Minnesota beat Penn State by 21 in a game I thank every possible religious deity that I wasn't forced to watch, and Florida at least momentarily speared itself from the knowledge of having a stressful Sunday on the horizon by knocking off Auburn, 76-55.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 9:24 pm
All it takes is two weeks of following every conference tournament to realize that there there are so many conferences and D1 teams in this country that it could drive a person crazy trying to touch them all. This afternoon's rounds saw games from the Mountain West, the Big East, the Big 12, the SEC, the ACC, the MAC, the Pac-10 and several others. That's a full plate, America, so let's dive right in, shall we?
Marquette 80, Villanova 76: Yesterday, we reported that "cartoon thug" Buzz Williams said that close games are "all they know." Guess that knowledge came in handy as traditionally marginal producer Darius Johnson-Odom stepped seemingly from nowhere as the rocketsauce the Golden Eagles needed to bust down the #10 (and no slouch) Villanova. I kept waiting for this one to go into overtime, and Marquette just kept denying that there would be any overtime for them today. So far, you really have to like this Marquette team. They're manufacturing wins any way they can, and they probably have a good shot against #5 Georgetown tomorrow. The Golden Eagles look to have the steam to off some giants if the invisible laser beams shooting out of Buzz Williams' giant, magical head can continue to empower these guys.
Utah State 84, Boise State 60: The first game of the WAC Tourney was a bit of a snoozer (you'd think Boise State would want this thing more, because if they lose they have to go back to Boise) at a 24-point deficit, but you can't take anything away from the Aggies' Tai Wesley's 18 points and 10 rebounds. In case you're wondering, Boise's bench player Zack Moritz only saw two minutes, because he was busy distracting Mr. Belding from the secret party the team was arranging in the school library.
New Mexico 75, Air Force 69: The Mountain West Tourney was in full swing today in Sin City as my new favorite-named player Darington Hobson (that's Lord Darington Hobson to you) walks away with 28 points and a stellar 15 rebounds.
Michigan 59, Iowa 52: It's no secret that the Wolverines need to win the Big Ten Tourney to get onto the mainstage, but beating a similarly limping Iowa isn't the way to do it. Michigan's Manny Harris turned in 22 points and 9 rebounds to lead his crew to a victory, even though Iowa's Cully Payne was doing his thang with 25 points. They'll step forward to play the 1-seeded Buckeyes tomorrow.
Miami 83, Wake Forest 62: The Canes exorcise the Demon Deacons in the ACC Tournament, which is bittersweet for the Canes -- on one hand, they advance and get to play Virginia Tech tomorrow. On the other hand, they're probably going to miss a really good boat party on Friday night. Nevertheless, Miami was propelled into the second round by freshman Reggie Johnson with 22 points. A second half where the Deacons couldn't even get within sixteen points of the Canes means that it was a very, very smart move not to nationally televise this game.
More's on the way as scores are ticking in constantly. Stay tuned.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 3:44 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 4:00 pm
More and more sick days are being used and the tournament action is picking up as we near the weekend of conference tournament week. Today marked the first afternoon with a solid schedule of the nationally televised, major conference games.
If you are a fan of the NCAA contenders, I assume you're saving your sick days for the Big Dance. So, let me recap what you missed this afternoon while you were at work flipping through paperwork and flirting with that secretary that's half your age.
Big XII: Kansas 80, Texas Tech 68... Cole Aldrich scored 12 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as Kansas became the third team to reach 2000 wins. The Jayhawks struggled in the first half and had to fight off a second half Texas Tech run to pull of the win over the Red Raiders. Sherron Collins scored 19 and dished out six assists and Xavier Henry added 13 points in the win for the number one team in the land. Kansas will go on to face the Texas A&M-Nebraska winner in Friday's Big 12 Semifinals.
Big East: Georgetown 91, Syracuse 84... Just in case you're too lazy to scroll down, the top-seeded Georgetown might've cost Syracuse their #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Hoyas upset the Orange in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament today. Syracuse's Arinze Onuaku went down with what appeared to be a serious right-knee injury but early reports are that he'll be good to go for the NCAA Tournament. Georgetown will play the winner of Villanova-Marquette.
SEC: Alabama 68, South Carolina 63... South Carolina lost a heartbreaker to Alabama in the first game of the 2010 SEC Tournament. With the Gamecocks down two with under a minute to play, Devan Downey missed the first of two critical free throws. S.C. would get another shot at tying the game after an Alabama layup but Sam Muldrow threw the ball away while trying to get it to Downey on the inbounds. Alabama advances to lose to Kentucky.
ACC: Virginia 68, Boston College 62... Virginia's Sammy Zeglinski scored 16 of his season high 21 points in the first half in the win over Boston College. The Cavaliers move on to face Duke in a rematch of a game we caught on our Road Trip.
Conference USA: Houston 66, Memphis 65... Houston's Aubrey Coleman made a bucket with 4 seconds to go to give Houston the win over Memphis. Coleman scored 21 in the victory. Hey, remember when Mario Chalmers hit that 3-pointer at the buzzer in the NCAA Championship? That was awesome.
MAC: Western Michigan 69, Central Michigan 60... David Kool "As The Other Side of the Pillow" scored 24 points in the second half to rally Western Michigan to a 69-60 win over Central Michigan in the MAC Quarterfinals.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 12:57 am
Now that was we have been waiting for! A great finish to a day full of games that would have excited even the most passive of fans. We punched two more tickets to the NCAA Tournament, saw one major conference upset and saw Rick Pitino and his merry bunch of Cardinals have a quick exit from Madison Square Garden. A quick overview:
BIG SKY CONFERENCE FINAL: Montana 66 Weber State 65
The game of Championship Week happened in, of all places, Ogden, Utah where Montana rose from the ashes on the back of the new Harold "The Show" Arceneaux, Anthony Johnson of Montana, who scored a Big Sky Tournament record 42 points, leading the Grizzlies to an unbelievable comeback against Weber State on their home floor. Johnson had eight points at halftime and then exploded for 34 in the second half, causing Bob Valvano to utter so many words of amazement that he forgot to plug his radio show and drop names of his famous friends. The Grizzlies were down 20 points at half and those of us watching at home (at the time me, Seth Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and the old guy who wears sweatpants to all of the high school games in your town), were ready to put the game to rest and go to bed. Johnson however took over, scoring on a variety of circus shots and making himself unstoppable in a 20 minute display that was as good of a performance as you will see in a major college basketball game. The Grizzlies now make their 8th trip to the NCAA Tournament and the boys from Weber State have to deal with the dual heartache of losing a game they should of won AND living in Ogden, Utah. Pray for them.
NORTHEAST CONFERENCE FINAL: Robert Morris 52 Quinniapac 50
Montana was not the only school to win on the road however, as Robert Morris made the trip to Quinniapac University and took out another conference favorite, 52-50. The game was a nailbiter throughout and came down to a late basket by Robert Morris that brought the masses to their feet and made them forget about the fact that they had no idea where they were or what a "Quinniapac" actually is. For Quinniapac, it was their chance to make the first NCAA Tournament in school history, and the loss ends one of the most successful seasons since the school went Division I. True story about Quinniapac. I once bet a girl I was dating in college whether or not "Quinniapac" was a real name of a college in the United States. She insisted it was not, we bet and I won. It was a great prize and one that I still remember fondly....making Quinnipac a secret favorite of mine for years to come. For Robert Morris, a loss to a #2 seed awaits.
TWO MAJOR CONFERENCE UPSETS: Missouri and Louisville
Two of the more perplexing teams in college basketball went down on Wednesday, as #5 seed Missouri was beaten by woeful Nebraska and Louisville lost to Cincinnati. For Missouri, the loss was more embarassing than hurtful, as they are safely in the tournament and Mike Anderson's moustache still has a chance to create postseason havoc. But the Tigers had dreams of making a run in the Big 12 Tournament and improving their seeding in the NCAA, and those dreams have been husked by the fighting Tommie Fraziers. As for Louisville, it was a tale of two halves, mirroring the sporaticness of the season thus far for the Cards. Louisville led by 11 at the half and seemed to have the game under control, when Cincinnati began a second-half offensive board domination that allowed it to take the lead and hold on down the stretch for the three point victory. The Cards only had 2 points scored in the second half from players not named Edgar Sosa or Samardo Samuels, and key missed free throws cost them the game and their pride. For the Bearcats, an NCAA berth likely requires a tournament win and their next task will be a battle against West Virginia and Bob Huggins' tracksuit.
Most of the other games held to form, with the best team winning and setting up a great day of Thursday action. A little peak ahead:
Big Day in the Big East
There are no finals in any conference on Thursday, which means it is all big boys going at each other in the beginnings of major conference tournaments. The biggest of the big will be in New York, where a great day of basketball is headed to the Garden. Georgetown and Syracuse renew their age-old rivalry to start the day, followed by Marquette vs Villanova, Pitt vs Notre Dame and West Virginia vs Cincinnati. If you could be anywhere in America to watch basketball on Thursday, you would choose New York City.
Tournament Play Kicks off in the SEC, ACC and Big Ten
Patiently waiting their turn after the start of all the other conference championships, the last three major conferences tip off on Thursday. Duke and Maryland are the favorites in the ACC Tournament, although teams like Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech need to quietly make a run to ensure their NCAA standing. Kentucky will bring its Big Blue powers to Nashville for a ticket that may be the toughest in the Tournament's recent history. While Ohio State and Michigan State will be attempting to create another rematch in the Finals in Chicago for Big Ten glory.
All told, Thursday will be the busiest of all days of Championship Week, with every major conference in action, and games coming from secondary conferences like the Atlantic Ten, WAC, Mountain West and Conference USA as well. We will have every moment covered here, and after Thursday's action, the entire scene for Selection Sunday will become much clearer.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 12:56 am
Edited on: March 11, 2010 7:18 am
While Texas’ 82-75 win behind Damion James’ 28 points and 16 rebounds will grab the headlines, the big winner might be the Iowa State basketball program, which showed the world through a competitive game Wednesday night that they actually do exist.
For a program that hasn’t made any post-season tournament since 2005 and has put together a combined 24-56 conference record in that time, never winning more than six Big 12 games in a season, it’s just nice to be noticed again. Losses are routine. Publicity is a blessing.
“Every year I have the same conversation with my parents,” Iowa State journalism major Nick McClanahan told CBS. “I tell them that I’m still covering Cyclone basketball for the school paper and my dad threatens to stop paying the tuition if I don’t stop lying to him. He says he knows they killed that program years ago. It’s frustrating.”
Does getting on television and possibly even making a page three story in the local paper help the program? McClanahan thinks so.
“At this point, I think any recognition is good recognition,” McClanahan explained. “I’m not sure what it will do for recruiting, but my dad might start visiting me again or stop calling my apartment collect on the rare occasion he wants to speak to me.”
McClanahan isn’t the only person on campus feeling the sting of the fall from grace of the Cyclone program, though. According to the school’s media relations department, the student body and community as a whole is suffering through the downturn in Iowa State’s basketball fortune and they’re doing their best to help them deal with their depression.
In a statement released to CBS, Iowa State said that counselors are available 24 hours a day to meet with students, faculty or any Iowa State fans living in the community. According to the statement, the losing is only part of the issue.
“With Larry Eustachy’s continued resurgence at Southern Miss, Marcus Fizer’s monthly contract in Mexico and Iowa State tranfer Wes Johnson helping Syracuse hunt for a national title, “ the statement read, “we understand the widespread depression and recognize that we must help those affected.”
The school says calls have flooded in over the past few weeks, but slowed on Wednesday night as Iowa State at least gave them a glimmer of hope. And at least a little bit of national recognition.
Texas might have advanced to play Baylor on Thursday, but Iowa State still scored themselves a victory.