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.
Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.
The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.