Iowa State Wants To Dictate Pace, Style Friday Vs. Notre Dame
By Rob Gray, Reporter
AMES, Iowa — Iowa State shooting star Tyrus McGee will let it fly anywhere, against anyone.
At Dayton, Ohio?
That’s the plan.
“Certain people wanted different locations but I really don’t care,” said McGee, the Big 12’s sixth man of the year. “I didn’t really care who we’d face. I just want to prepare for them and play our style, try to get that ‘W.’”
About that style …
It will meet its match when the transition-fueled No. 10-seed Cyclones (22-11) and the more deliberate, taller and physical seven-seeded Fighting Irish (25-9) tip off at approximately 8:45 p.m. Friday in a second round NCAA Tournament West Regional game to be broadcast on CBS.
And how fast the pace of the game unfolds will obviously go a long way toward determining who’s survived and advanced to the third round, and who’s left reflecting on the end of a season.
“You get your guys to believe they can go out and make a run,” ISU coach Fred Hoiberg said. “That’s what we’ve tried to do with our team all year and our guys have responded to that.”
But who will dictate the tempo?
In one corner there’s ISU, which frays the nets with 79.6 points in the game — better than all but three teams in the country.
McGee has hit 90 3-pointers off the bench, helping the Cyclones drain a school-record 325 long-range baskets.
“We have shooters on our team,” McGee said. “And it’s very rare to see six shooters. Most times you see people who’ve got two or three shooters on the team and that’s about it. But there’s six of us.”
In the other corner, slight favorite Notre Dame, which ranks 86th nationally in scoring defense at 63.1 points per game and is the only team to beat top-seed Louisville since January.
The Fighting Irish limit foes to 32.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc — 93rd-best in the country.
“We have had games where we have held teams to 40, 50 points and I think that’s what we want to do in order to come out with this win,” Notre Dame’s top shooter, Pat Connaughton, said in a news conference.
ISU has scored fewer than 60 points just seven times in 99 games since Hoiberg took over the program in 2010.
The Cyclones’ only sub-60 effort this season came in a 56-51 upset loss in January at Texas Tech.
They’ve racked up no fewer than 63 ever since — and averaged 78.1 points in 14 games played against nine opponents, including Kansas and Kansas State, with stingier on-paper scoring defenses than Notre Dame.
“One of the hardest teams to guard in the nation,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said in a teleconference. “At the end of the day, they’re going to make — they’ve got too many good shooters, they’re going to make some. And if they’re making more, they’re going to be very hard to beat.”
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