2015 NCAA Tournament Preview: Iowa State Cyclones

The Iowa State Cyclones have shown they're one of the top teams in the country by powering through the Big 12, and are looking to build on last year's Sweet 16 performance in the NCAA Tournament.


Record – 21-8 (11-6 in Big 12)

RPI – 14

Strength of Schedule – 14

Starting Lineup:

G Monte Morris (So.) –11.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg

G Naz Long (Jr.) – 10.6 ppg, 2.8 apg

F Dustin Hogue (Sr.) – 10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg

F Georges Niang (Jr.) – 15.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg

F Jameel McKay (Jr.) – 11.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg

Key Player:

Georges Niang

Niang is one of the best all-around players in the country. His ball-handling and passing ability allow him to play point guard even though he plays center for the Cyclones, and is the engine that drives Iowa State's up-tempo attack. He sometimes forces his offense, but when Niang lets the game come to him and plays pass-first basketball, Iowa State can beat anyone in the country.

Biggest Strength:


The Cyclones have six players that average double-digit points, and nine players play 13+ minutes per game. They have the ability to hurt you from every position on the court at all times, which is the biggest reason why their offensive attack is so dangerous. Iowa State averages 78 points per game because they rank sixth in the country is assists (16.8 per game), showcasing their unselfish, balanced play.

Biggest Weakness:


The flip-side to Iowa State's up-tempo style is being vulnerable on defense, and that's hurt them this season. The Cyclones are only 261st in the country in points allowed per game (69.4) and only create six steals per game - not a good number when your offense is dependent on fast breaks. They also aren't very tall (Jameel McKay is the tallest player at 6'9" that sees consistent minutes) which leads to lousy rim protection.


Iowa State's up-tempo style of play will give a lot of teams problems, but their defense has been exploited and resulted in losses to teams like South Carolina and Texas Tech. They do have seven wins over top 25 teams, so they could make a Final Four run - or lose in the first round - depending on their matchup.

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