Iowa State opens the NCAA Tournament on tonight in San Antonio against North Carolina Central. The 26-7 Cyclones are the third seed in the East Region and coach Fred Hoiberg believes a tough regular season schedule has them prepared. “You know, not only our nonconference, but what we’ve gone through in the last couple of weeks,” Hoiberg says.
Hoiberg says the schedule has them prepared for a variety of styles from teams that play man-to-man and zone to teams that press. The Cyclones are coming off the championship at the Big 12 Tournament but Hoiberg does not feel they are in store for a letdown. “They’re focused, I’m not worried about that at all….our guys will go out and play well,” Hoiberg says.
ISU senior Melvin Ejim feels the Cyclones are poised for a good run. “When you look at the games that we’ve had, I think we’ve been exposed to so many different types of play…we are going to be very equipped for whatever this team brings toward us,” Ejim says.
Ejim says the Cyclones are a confident team. “When you win your tournament, when you play as well as we did and fight adversity as well as we did, you build confidence and there is definitely momentum. We are going to bring that with us and try and keep that rolling into the tournament,” Ejim says.
Senior guard DeAndre Kane says the Cyclones are not looking past the Eagles as he says every team has good players. North Carolina Central is 28-5. The Eagles have won 20 straight games and won the Mid-Eastern regular season and tournament titles.