Selection Sunday is only eight days away! For all of the complaining that casual fans have about college basketball – too slow, not enough scoring, too many timeouts, etc – there’s no question that March Madness is one of the best times of the year for sports. So without further ado, let’s dig into the second to last power rankings before the tourney starts.
12. Iowa State
Iowa State just beat Oklahoma the other day, capping off the game with a 49-22 run. That’s right – the Cyclones were getting blown out at home, and then casually dropped 59 points on the 7th ranked defense in the country. I haven’t been buying Iowa State’s chances in the tournament all year. They have one of the highest powered offenses in the country, and Fred Hoiberg is one of the best coaches in America, but they don’t guard. For most of the season, their defense has hardly cracked the top 100. Last year, Duke and Michigan were two notable teams that had top 5 offenses and sub-100 offenses – Duke was knocked out in the first round and Michigan fell to Kentucky in the Elite 8. So, it’s not like porous defense always dooms you in the tournament, but it leaves you especially susceptible to a poor night shooting night. It’s hard to stay hot shooting the ball for six straight games in the tournament. Having said all that, I’m not sure if any other team outside the top 10 has as much upside as Iowa State. When they came back to beat Oklahoma the other night, they scored 59 points in the second half, but they also won with their defense, limiting Oklahoma to 22 points in the second half. If Iowa State plays defense, they have Final Four ability. Continue reading