NCAA tournament team previews: Iowa State Cyclones
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team's national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 26-7, 11-7 in Big 12
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 115.8 (16th) / 98.0 (54th)
Seed: No. 3 in East
Impact player: Melvin Ejim, senior forward: 18.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 50.6% FG
The Case For:
The best thing about the Cyclones is their offensive balance. Senior guard DeAndre Kane, senior forward and reigning Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejim and sophomore forward Georges Niang each use between 24 and 28 percent of the team's offensive possessions. Kane and Ejim are almost identical in terms of efficiency and output: Kane has an offensive rating of 11.4 and averages 17 points per game to go with 6.7 rebounds and a team-leading 5.8 assists per game; Ejim's O-Rating is 112.4 and he averages 18.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. All together, the team shoots 52.6 percent from inside the arc, good for ninth in the country.
After Kane left Marshall as a transfer, he wanted to go to a team that could make a run in the NCAA tournament. Iowa State is that team. Although the Cyclones' offense is the backbone of the team, their defense is a respectable 54th in overall efficiency. Iowa State also takes care of the ball at an elite rate, with the ninth-best turnover percentage in the country according to KenPom.com.
The Case Against:
Although the Cyclones protect the ball on offense, they have trouble getting it back on defense. They are 301st in the country in defensive turnover percentage and 283rd in block percentage. They also lack an elite three-point shooter, which is a standard component of a championship team. In his four seasons at the helm in Iowa State, Fred Hoiberg has yet to prove that he can put together a run in the NCAA tournament, posting a 2-2 record in three appearances. If the game is close and the Cyclones need to close it at the charity stripe, their 69.4 free throw percentage could prove costly.
SI prediction: Beat North Carolina Central in second round, beat North Carolina in third round, beat Villanova in Sweet 16, lose to Michigan State in Elite 8 View complete bracket predictions from SI.com's panel of experts