What I Learned From San Antonio: Baylor Bears and Iowa State Cyclones
The SI.com writers who covered the first weekend of the NCAA tournament offer their takeaways on each of the teams from their sites that advanced to the Sweet 16:
Other sites: Buffalo (UConn and Dayton) | Milwaukee (Michigan and Wisconsin) | Raleigh (Virginia and Tennessee) | Orlando (Florida and Louisville | San Diego (Arizona and UCLA) | St. Louis (Kentucky and Stanford) | Spokane (Michigan State and San Diego State)
Seed: No. 6 in the West
It’s the same story for Baylor under coach Scott Drew. He once again has freakishly athletic and uber long team that is extremely dangerous when making three-pointers, as evidenced by its destruction of Creighton on Sunday.
But Drew’s coaching remains a liability for the sixth-seeded Bears, which have won 12 of their last 14 games since cog point guard Kenny Chery healed from turf toe. At times, they rely on raw ability alone, and they are also prone to stretches of ill-advised shots, mind-numbing turnovers and lazy defense.
So far this tournament, Baylor has overwhelmed their overmatched opponents. That won’t be the case against their next opponent -- second-seeded Wisconsin, which has the advantage of its sage coach Bo Ryan -- or a potential West Region final against top-seeded Arizona or No. 4 seed San Diego State.
Sooner than later, Baylor’s problem will not be its talent, but once again Drew’s coaching.
Iowa State Cyclones
Seed: No. 3 in the East
Results: Beat No. 14 N.C. Central 93-75; beat No. 6 UNC 85-83
Iowa State’s three-headed monster had been slayed, and all hope of a Final Four run was lost.
At least that’s what many thought when inside-outside forward Georges Niang broke a bone in his third-seeded team’s opening-round win of the tournament. It put even more pressure on remaining pieces, wing Melvin Ejim (18.1 points per game) and point guard DeAndre Kane (17.1 points per game).
The Cyclones are getting the best play of the year from Kane, who had a game-winning layup Sunday to outlast sixth-seeded North Carolina. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound fifth-year senior took over the game during stretches with his pounding drives to the rim and occasional jumpers on his way to a game-high 24 points. Kane’s aggression is sometimes a magnet for offensive fouls, a problem for coach Fred Hoiberg’s short bench. But this team is feeding off him and will likely go as far as he can carry it.