Is Fred Hoiberg a genius? Trick question: Fred Hoiberg is all things to all people. He is the way, the truth and the light. But that should be obvious by now. The question arises due to Iowa State's potential bracket seeding. A little over a week ago, Iowa State was sitting at 9-5 in the Big 12, 19-8 overall and staring down the barrel of the dreaded 8/9 seed in the NCAA tournament.
This was almost exactly the same situation Iowa State found themselves in last year, and the Cyclones drew an eight-seed. After quickly dispatching UConn in the first round of the tournament, the Cyclones ran into the highly
paid skilled '11-'12 Kentucky Wildcat team that went on to win the National Championship. Never let it be said that Fred Hoiberg isn't a fast learner, because after viewing ISU's prospects for the NCAA tournament this year; he engaged in a little unconventional, high-risk/high-reward strategizing and coached his Cyclones to two quick losses to Kansas and Oklahoma.
So now Iowa State has an overall record of 19-10, 9-7 in the Big 12; and is in the unenviable position of fighting for their tournament lives. As isolated events, neither Monday night's loss to Kansas or Saturday's loss to Oklahoma would do much damage to Iowa State's tournament chances. But back-to-back losses, especially at this point in the season, does not bode well for the Cyclones going forward.
So with that in mind, it's probably a good idea to see what the experts think about Iowa State's chances for the NCAA tournament at this point in the season. Taking a poll of recently updated brackets can give a decent picture of what Iowa State needs to do in the next two weeks to go dancing.
- Jerry Palm/CBS Sports - Everyone's favorite 34th-most-accurate bracketologist has Iowa State in his first four out. If this surprises you, you haven't been paying attention to Jerry Palm; which is probably a good idea.
- Joe Lunardi/ESPN - 11 seed in the West Region, first round matchup against Colorado State (So we meet again, Godfather...) UPDATE: Lunardi's updated bracket has ISU in the 12-seed play-in game against Temple. Thanks, Pauli.
- CollegeSportsMadness.com - 11 seed, first round matchup against UCLA (So we meet again, Bruins...)
- Brad Evans/Yahoo.com - 11 seed, editorializes that ISU is "hanging by a thread after a cringe-worthy loss at Oklahoma." Way to kick us while we're down, Evans.
- Bracketology Expert - Daniel has ISU in his last four in as a 12 seed squaring off against Tennessee in the play-in game in the East Region, while Blake... also has ISU in his last four in as a 12 seed facing off against recent-NCAA-sacrificial-lambs St. Marys in the play-in game in the East Region. Oh Daniel and Blake, you bros were made for each other.
- Bracketville - 11 seed play-in game vs. Virginia in the Midwest region
- The Bracket Project - Listed as a 12 seed as of Monday night, The Bracket Project uses an aggregate score of 50 other bracketologists to come up with its projections. If this prediction was any more average, it'd be Tobey Maguire fronting a Train cover band.
- SB Nation - 12 seed in the Midwest Region, first round matchup against St. Louis. UPDATE: SB Nation now has Iowa State in the 11-seed play-in game against Temple in the East Region.
- Bracketography - 13 seed in the East Region, first round matchup against Southern Mississippi. Bracketography uses algorithmic projections based on data from TeamRanking.com, which is why you see Southern Mississippi as a potential opponent when most experts don't have the Golden Eagles anywhere on the bubble.
Now this is a just limited sampling of some of the bigger/more accurate bracketologists out there, but according to almost every projection, Iowa State is looking at anywhere at either an 11-seed or 12-seed for this year's NCAA tournament. As noted above, the Bracket Project's poll of bracketologists has ISU at a 12-seed. But obviously this is all dependent on whether or not the Cyclones can take care of business against Oklahoma State at home this Wednesday and West Virginia on the road this Saturday.
If they pick up two wins this week; Iowa State is almost definitely in, maybe even seeded as high as nine or tenth. Win one, and the Cyclones are in exactly the same position, maybe sliding a little further down the line. End the year on a four-game losing streak? That's not going to happen, why would you even say something like that? Look, now you made your sister cry. Go to your room.
So while Iowa State is in a more tenuous position than they were a week ago, most projections still have them going to the dance. The notable exception is Jerry Palm, who remains Iowa State basketball's mortal enemy (DAMN YOU TO HELL, JERRY PALM!) But he's just one man, and as long as Iowa State wins at least one more game, the Cyclones should go to back-to-back tournaments for the first time since 2000-2001.
The Libertines - Up The Bracket (via RoughTradeRecordsUK)