What: NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen: Iowa State (28-7) vs UConn (28-8)
When: 6:25 PM CDT
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
TV Talent: Verne Lundquist (PxP), Bill Raftery (Color), Allie LaForce (Reporter)
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network
Radio Talent: John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (
Musbergering the RockettesColor)
SBN UConn Blog: The UConn Blog
Deep breath. It's been awhile since we've been here. 14 years to be exact. While the arena and the stage may be new for the team the pressure is not.
All year Iowa State has thrived in the spotlight. Whether it was in the thrillers against Michigan, BYU, and Iowa or it was a a back breaking three by a true freshman on the road in an arena that had not seen a Cyclone victory in 26 years; this team has lived for the moment every time they've stepped on the court.
It's no different tonight. The only lights brighter than those in Madison Square Garden will be the ones in Dallas next weekend, but first there is a game to win tonight.
UConn's Shabazz Napier is one of the most electrifying players in the country but DeAndre Kane will try to match him step for step. Napier will get his support from Ryan Boatright, but even without Georges Niang it will be the Cyclones with the plethora of options for the supporting cast.
Melvin Ejim has been quiet in this tournament by his standards. Naz Long is as hot as it gets right now, and Monte Morris is playing like a guard cementing his legacy rather than one beginning it.
On paper these teams couldn't be closer. Ken Pomery ranks UConn 19th and Iowa State 20th, and gives the slight edge tonight to the Huskies, 75-74. The Cyclones' 10th ranked offense goes against UConn's 10th ranked defense, and the UConn offense is just as equal to the Cyclones' defense with a 59th place ranking vs a 60th.
This is what you hope this time of year. Toss out the seedings and get even match ups that will determine who goes and who stays. Iowa State is on the gravy train and it's current stop is in The City That Never Sleeps. Now let's hope it stays stationed for the weekend.