As of Monday, March 18, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
Preview: Iowa State vs. Notre Dame
Seventh-seeded Notre Dame looks to slow down high-octane Iowa State in the opening round of the West Regional at Dayton, Ohio, on Friday. The talented Fighting Irish are the last team to beat Louisville, the tournament's overall No. 1 seed, in one of the most memorable games of the season. Notre Dame clipped the Cardinals' wings 104-101 in a five-overtime thriller in February.
Iowa State, the 10th seed, got off the NCAA bubble with a win over Oklahoma in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament. The Cyclones are a whirlwind on offense, ranking fourth in the nation in scoring at just under 80 points a game. Iowa State had its season derailed by Big 12 champions Kansas. The Jayhawks beat the Cyclones in overtime twice in the regular season before knocking them out of the conference tournament.
TV: 9:45 p.m. ET, CBS
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (25-9): Jack Cooley is the second-leading scorer on a balance offense, averaging 13 points. Cooley is one of the nation's leaders with 19 double-doubles and led the Big East in rebounding, pulling down over 10 boards a game. Notre Dame recently announced it will play in the ACC next season, joining a long list of powerhouses to bolt the Big East. The Irish beat Marquette in their conference tournament opener before losing to eventual champion Louisville in a rematch of the midseason thriller. Notre Dame was 4-4 on the season against ranked teams and began the season 14-1 overall, with its lone loss coming against St. Joseph's in overtime. The Fighting Irish have one of the nation's best backourt tandems in Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins, who both finished in the top 40 nationally in assists.
ABOUT IOWA STATE (22-11): Iowa State has been to one Final Four and holds an all-time tournament record of 13-14. The Cyclones knocked Connecticut out of the Big Dance last season before losing to eventual national champion Kentucky in their next game. Will Clyburn, a 6-7 guard who transferred from Utah, presents all kinds of matchup problems on the offensive end. Clyburn leads the team in scoring at 15.0 points after missing all of last season with a broken foot. Senior guard Korie Lucious is another transfer with tons of NCAA experience. Lucious was a member of Michigan State when the Spartans went to the Final Four in 2010. The Cyclones also get major production from junior forward Mevlin Ejim, who nearly averaged a double-double, and guard Tyrus McGee was named the conference's best sixth man. Iowa State didn't lose more than two straight games at any point of the season.
Both teams were 6-4 in their last 10 games.
Notre Dame lost to Xavier in its first game of the NCAA tourney last season.
The winner will advance to take on the winner of No. 2 Ohio State (26-7) and No. 15 Iona (20-13).
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 83, Iowa State 80.