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2022 NCAA Tournament: who are the Iowa State Cyclones?

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Read up on all things Cyclones to get ready for Sunday!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round Milwaukee - Iowa St. vs LSU Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin basketball won a thriller LATE on Friday night over Colgate to advance to the Round of 32 where they will meet the Iowa State Cyclones. Wisconsin fans are probably more familiar with Iowa the state and probably actually feel a lot of commonality with Cyclones fans.

Both fan bases love their beer (Miller Lite is so much better than Natty though) and both fan bases hate the Iowa Hawkeyes. Speaking of that, can we just take a minute to appreciate how awful this game will be for Iowa fans? Sitting at home watching your two biggest rivals battle it out. Gotta be fun! Anyway, let’s dive into who the Cyclones are and get you ready for Sunday’s game.

Quick Facts

Who are the Badgers playing? Iowa State University

What are they? Their mascot is the Cyclones

Where are they from? Iowa State University is a public university in Ames, Iowa

When did they start? Iowa State University was founded in 1858

How did they get here? The Cyclones clinched an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament, they defeated LSU in the first round to advance to the Round of 32

Syndication: Journal Sentinel Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Who are the Iowa State Cyclones?

Alright, we’ve established the baseline on Iowa State so now let’s dive into the basketball stuff. Iowa State is a team that clinched one of the last few spots in the NCAA Tournament this year as an at-large team. The Cyclones are a squad that started out red hot to begin the season. The Cyclones went 12-0 in their non-conference slate to start the year with wins over teams like Memphis and Iowa.

Things took a turn for the Cyclones when they entered into conference play, suffering their first loss of the year to then top-ranked Baylor. The Cyclones bounced back to knock off Texas Tech the following contest but then lost four of five in conference play. Things looked bleak for the Cyclones when the calendar turned to February as they dropped four straight to begin the month.

At that point, it appeared the Cyclones would miss the tourney altogether, but things turned around as they rattled off four straight wins down the stretch. Iowa State finished the regular season dropping their final two contests, and falling in the Big 12 tournament in their first game. Despite that, they ended up as one of the teams in the field of 68.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round Milwaukee - Iowa St. vs LSU Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When Iowa State found success it was due to their effort on the defensive end of the court. According to KenPom, the Cyclones rank No. 10 in the country in defensive efficiency while playing in one of the top offensive conferences in the country. The Big 12 was a difficult league top to bottom, and Iowa State slowed down a lot of high-powered offensive units with their defensive effort.

In addition to playing a strong, team-focused, defensive effort the Cyclones also are a time that makes timely shots and manages to find a way to put up just enough points to win, mainly due to their strong duo in the backcourt. Senior guard Izaiah Brockington leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.2 points per game. Second on the team in scoring is Racine native Tyrese Hunter who averages 11.2 points per game and 4.8 assists per game. Hunter was a key piece in their opening round win over LSU knocking down two DEEP three’s in the final two minutes to close out the contest.

Overall, this contest seems like it is going to come down to who plays better defensively, and which star backcourt player makes more plays. In the opening round we saw Hunter and Johnny Davis put their respective teams on their back to close games out, so those two going at one another in this contest will be an incredibly fun matchup to watch. It’ll be a slow, defensive game, but they can’t all be pretty. Survive and advance is the only thing on both these teams’ minds.