Iowa State takes on Arkansa-Little Rock in the second round of the NCAA Tournament today at 5:10 p.m. in Denver, Colorado.
Senior Georges Niang was asked during the meeting with the media Friday how they’ll stop the upstart 12th seeded Arkansas-Little Rock team which beat 5th seeded Purdue in the first round.
“I think the biggest thing is making things difficult for them. They do a good job of getting the ball side to side, getting the defense rotating,” Niang says. “If we can slow that down, make them have to step out further, get out of their comfort zones, hopefully get them to turn the ball over.”
Some players in other games were taking oxygen to get used to the altitude in Denver. Niang says it took some adjusting to early on.
“It was tough till the first media (time out). You really started to feel it. We knew we had to battle through. We knew we weren’t going to let altitude slow us down from
achieving our goals,” he says. “I know it’s tough, I want to say it’s more of a mental thing. It’s March. You don’t work this hard to blame a loss on altitude. That will never come out of my mouth.You have to grind it out. It’s how bad do you want it.”
Monte Morris says they expect Little Rock to be looking for another win against a higher seed. “I feel like that’s how they going to come out, like they have a point to prove. They not wrong for doing that. We have to come in focused, try to stay in the moment and try to advance to the Sweet 16,” Morris says.
Cyclone coach Steve Prohm says they accomplished what they wanted with the opening round win, and now how to move to the next game.
“It’s a great opportunity for our guys and our school and these players. Opportunity to go to the Sweet 16 is a great thing,” Prohm says.”We’ve got to beat a really good basketball team in Little
Rock. Anytime you win 30 games, league, mid-major, low-major, high-major, you’ve got a really good basketball team.”
Prohm knows what it is like to be a mid-major looking for a win in the tournament and now he is leading a Big 12 school.
“Obviously at this level you’re expected to win. You’ll be beyond crushed if you didn’t get there and you didn’t max out. I wouldn’t trade this position, though. I wouldn’t trade this position for anything. I think our guys are ready, our guys are focused. It’s a neutral floor, so great respect for both teams I think both ways,” according to Prohm. “Now we got to go play. You’re not worried about conference affiliation when you’re playing out there, it’s just Iowa State and Little Rock.”
Fourth-seed Iowa State was called a good candidate to be an upset in the first round and some will probably think the same thing this time around. Prohm says it is good the team is coming in with not a lot of expectations by those on the outside. “We’re not getting a lot of pub, Iowa State. But that’s
good. Maybe we got too much pub early with all the newness and all the change. Maybe it puts a little chip on our shoulder,” Prohm says.
The Cyclones are now 22-11, while Arkansas-Little Rock is 30-4.