AMES — The Iowa State women’s basketball team has situated itself well for the NCAA tournament.
The Cyclones finished second in the Big 12 with a record of 25-8 overall and 13-5 in the conference. The only team to finish ahead of them was Baylor, the nation’s top-ranked team that only lost one game all season and went undefeated in the Big 12.
ESPN women’s basketball braketologist Charlie Creme has Iowa State hosting the NCAA first and second rounds as a No. 4 seed.
“I’m largely basing that on, quite honestly, what the committee told us on the last reveal (of the top 16 teams),” Creme said in a conference call last Wednesday. “They had them in that 14-15 spot and nothing has happened since then for them or for some of the teams around them have changed so dramatically that there would be a big enough swing to get them to 12 overall — except for the jump of Syracuse, and the jump of Miami to some degree.”
Iowa State throttled Miami earlier in the season to the tune of 75-52 but Creme has Miami as a No. 3-seed because the Hurricans have two signature wins. The Hurricanes beat No. 3 Notre Dame 72-65 on Feb. 7 and defeated fifth-ranked Louisville 79-73 a week later.
While Iowa State beat national power Texas in the Big 12 tournament a week ago and went toe-to-toe against Baylor in the conference tournament championship game until the final quarter, Creme doesn’t believe it was enough to elevate Iowa State to a No. 3-seed.
“There was a little bit of a gap, I think, between Iowa State and some of those teams in the 11-12 range overall that would put (Iowa State) in a position to be a 3,” Creme said. “And I don’t think they’ve overcome that since then.”
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The difference between being a No. 3 or No. 4-seed doesn’t matter all that much — it just determines whether or not a team would play a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed in the Elite Eight, barring upsets. Iowa State has to do a lot of work before it would reach that stage.
After missing the NCAA tournament last season, Iowa State is just ready to be back in the dance and to likely be hosting.
“We’re really excited,” Iowa State star Bridget Carleton said after the Big 12 championship game. “We’re excited for Selection Monday and we’re hoping we get to host, hoping we get to win some tournaments and win some games in the tournament. You know, playing college basketball you want to get to the NCAA tournament. That’s what it’s all about.
“That’s where the best memories are made, so we’re looking forward to that. I can’t wait.”
The Cyclones are hosting a Selection Show viewing event in the Sukup South End Zone Club Monday that is open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m.
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