Last night’s thrilling 76-58 demolition derby of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish was definitely a surprise to many. Not Iowa State’s victory over them, but how it happened. One of the best teams that takes care of the ball, and has the nation’s best assist-turnover ratio, coughed it up 17 times on just nine assists.
It’s as if both teams had role reversals; Notre Dame looked like the early months of Iowa State basketball when they would turn it over all the time against some easy opponents. The Cyclones had 19 assists on 29 field goals with just six turnovers.
Next up for Iowa State is the Big Ten champs, Ohio State.
Before diving into the matchups and previewing, let’s just say the Cyclones actually have consistency for once this season and look just as remarkable as they did Friday night. There’s no question that ISU can’t be beaten if they play that well driving inside to the basket and forcing that many turnovers.
Harvard, Arizona, Gonzaga, and Wichita State are the remaining teams in a completely busted-up West region. If the Bulldogs and Wildcats get knocked off, the Shockers would be the highest-seeded team remaining at nine.
Even if Iowa State has to match up against Arizona or Gonzaga, both games would be expected high scoring affairs – that plays into the Cyclones’ favor. Better yet the Wildcats give up a 35.7 3-point shooting percentage (258th in the nation) and the best way to attack the Bulldogs is from the perimeter.
The potential for Iowa State to make a dream run to the Final Four is all there. Their road has become a little easier with what’s unfolded in their region. Now they just need to prove to the nation that they can perform consistently and can actually take down one of the best teams in the nation.