The Big 12 was stacked this year. If a team from that conference made it to the Big Dance, they are battle-tested. There was no easy path through the Big 12 this season. Iowa State has the talent to make some noise.
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference had a banner year this season. Monmouth and Iona both had excellent seasons in the conference.
Can Iona knock off Iowa State in the first round?
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The Iowa State Cyclones played one of the toughest schedules in the nation. They went 21-11 on the year and all eleven losses are to teams in the NCAA Tournament field. They also have marquee wins against Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Iowa State was dealt the short straw and had to face Oklahoma again in the first round of the Big 12 conference tournament.
The Iona Gaels started the year out with back-to-back losses at Valpo and Oregon State. They corrected the ship, but suffered a few more non-conference losses before the start of the MAAC season. The Gaels had to rely heavily on A.J. English for portions of the season. If he’s off, Iona has trouble staying in games. In my opinion, Monmouth would probably have had a better shot at knocking Iowa State off if they won their conference tournament.
Iowa State is a deep team and if they were in a weaker power conference, maybe they’d have a much higher seeds. I really like the Big 12 and Pac-12 teams in this NCAA Tournament.
Prediction: #4 Iowa State Cyclones
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.