The Iowa State Cyclones landed the number-three seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament and will play 14-seed UAB on Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky.
After learning his team’s fate, ISU Coach Fred Hoiberg admitted he doesn’t know much about the Blazers except he played against UAB coach Jerod Haase (hoss) in college. Haase played at Kansas and spent several years as an assistant coach under Roy Williams at both Kansas and North Carolina.
“Obviously, any team that has made it this far is going to present a challenge,” Hoiberg said. “(Haase) was very difficult to guard…and working under Roy Williams for as long as he did taught him very well.” UAB enters the tournament with a record of 19-15. The Big 12 Tournament champion Cyclones are 25-8.
While many fans are upset ISU didn’t land a number-two seed, Hoiberg wasn’t surprised. “I thought (a two-seed) was in play, but I did figure we would get a three…I thought three in Louisville and it came true,” Hoiberg said. The Iowa Hawkeyes are also in the South Region, but will play on Friday in Seattle, Washington against 10-seed Davidson.
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffrey says he’s thrilled for his players. “They worked so hard, not only this past year, but since they were little kids,” McCaffrey said. Senior forward Aaron White is hoping the Hawks can end a 13-year drought without a win in the NCAA Tournament.
“Obviously, my first two years — at the time for our program — playing in the NIT was a good first step. Last year was a good step with the play-in game,” White said. “Getting the seventh seed, we had a good year and we earned the seventh-seed. We know we haven’t won a (NCAA Tournament) game since 2002 as a program. We want to keep making strides and so that’s the next stride in our progress as a program and for our team.”
Davidson, the Atlantic 10 Conference regular season champion, has a record of 24-7. Iowa is 21-11. If Iowa would win, they would likely face number-two seed Gonzaga in the second round. If Iowa and Iowa State would both win their first two games, the Hawkeyes and Cyclones would meet in the Sweet 16.