Notre Dame picked a bad time to forget to show up.
The No. 7 seed Irish committed 18 turnovers and found themselves down by as much as 27 points to No. 10 seed Iowa State before eventually losing 76-58.
And while it ended up being just another in a long line of disappointing tournament performances from Irish head coach Mike Brey, this was a step towards legitimacy for Fred Hoiberg’s program at Iowa State.
The Cyclones weren’t relevant in college basketball when he took over. As good as they were in the late-’90s and early-2000s, all anyone remembers from that era is Iowa State’s loss to No. 2 seed Hampton, Larry Eustachy’s flameout as head coach and the bust that Marcus Fizer turned into.
Hoiberg’s teams have now won games in back to back NCAA tournaments despite losing a first round pick to the NBA in between.
As we all know, Hoiberg built up his teams through transfers. Royce White, Korie Lucious, Chris Babb, Will Clyburn. And while that got them back on the map, relying on flameouts from around the country is not a sustainable way to build a program.
Iowa State is relevant. They are winning games in the tournament. They play a style that every single recruit in the country should love. They spread the floor, they fire up a lot of threes and they take a minimalists approach to defense.
If Hoiberg is going to build a program that is annually deserving of that sensational home court, now is the time for him to strike.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.
News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.
Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.
Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.
Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.
6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.
West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.
Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.