Iowa State, at this juncture of the 2021-2022 season, is squarely in the NCAA tournament.
Considering Iowa State won two games last season, that statement calls for the “Who Would Have Thought” Paul Rudd meme, does it not?
While things may change over the last two weeks of the season, I thought it worth looking at Iowa State’s resume, where they are projected at the current moment, and what further opportunities lie ahead of the Cyclones before Selection Sunday.
Net Ranking: 34
8-7 in Quad 1 games
1-2 in Quad 2 games
1-0 in Quad 3 games
8-0 in Quad 4 games
BPI Seed Rank: 26
SOS Rank: 22
Creighton (64 NET, 66 Kenpom)
Oklahoma State (54 NET, 51 Kenpom)
TCU (52 NET, 53 Kenpom)
#25 Xavier (neutral)
#9 Memphis (neutral)
#25 Texas Tech (home)
#21 Texas (home)
Oklahoma State (road)
West Virginia (74 NET, 69 Kenpom), home
Kansas State (63 NET, 57 Kenpom), road
Oklahoma State (54 net, 51 Kenpom), home
Baylor (6 NET, 4 Kenpom), road
Bracket Matrix: 8 seed (top 8 seed), seed score of 7.98.
(http://www.bracketmatrix.com/) is a great resource, as they essentially assemble all seed projections from every bracket-making service and compile them into a master matrix.
CBS Bracketology: 7 seed (top 7 seed per bracket matrix) in the East Region playing 10 seed Murray State (awkward), matched up with Kentucky.
ESPN Bracketology: 8 seed (seed rank unknown) in the East Region playing 9 seed Wake Forest, matched up with Auburn.
SB Nation Bracketology: 7 seed (seed rank unknown) in the East Region playing 10 seed Wake Forest, matched up with Kentucky.
If Iowa State is indeed a 7 seed, most predictions have them playing in the East Region, with Philadelphia being the regional host. This seed level has potential locations of Fort Worth, and Greenville. Interestingly, Indianapolis will host TWO 7/10 matchups, making this the most likely landing spot for Iowa State, which is a good thing for Cyclone fans.
If Iowa State drops to an 8 seed, the options change to Fort Worth, Greenville, Portland, and San Diego, all of which are a bit of a drive. On the flip side, if the Cyclones move up a seed line, 6 seed locations include Pittsburg, San Diego, and Milwaukee, which hosts two 6/11 match ups.
Prediction as of 2/23:
Most brackets will not be re-worked until the weekend slate is over, so this is my best guess for now. If the Cyclones split this week’s action, they will likely remain in the 7-8 seed range. If the Cyclones can sweep both, expect them to move up a seed line and become a 6 seed. While a WVU does not carry as much weight, the Mountaineers still have decent metrics, and a road win over on-the-bubble Kansas State would be very significant.
The teams above Iowa State on the 7 line, per Bracket Matrix, are Marquette, St. Mary’s, Xavier, and Colorado State. None of these teams are major conference players, and all but St. Mary’s is significantly lower than ISU in Kenpom rankings. While all 4 are neck and neck with Iowa State, they will have a chance to move past them with a strong finish.
Dropping both contests is not a death sentence, but probably moves the Cyclones into 8/9 seed territory, and a further slide makes the play-in game possible.