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.