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NCAA Profile: Iowa State Cyclones

Will facing teams outside of conference benefit the Cyclones?

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Team: Iowa State

Conference: Big 12

Coach: Steve Prohm

Record: 21-11, 10-8 in conference play

KenPom Rank: 18

Good wins: Wins over Oklahoma and Kansas. The Cyclones cruised to an 82-77 win over the Sooners and beat the Jayhawks 85-72.

Impact players: Four of Iowa State's five starters average nearly 33 minutes or more per game with the fifth at 29.9. Seniors Jameel McKay and Georges Niang will be the players to lead the way. Niang, who averages 19.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, is one of six players who average double figures, but the Cyclones also shoot 50.2 percent as a team, which is second in the nation to St. Mary's (Calif.).

How did they get in? This team carries a strong resume heading into the NCAA tournament. They have wins over Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Iowa. They earned a No. 4 seed in the Midwest Region and will take one 13-seeded Iona. The Cyclones were the third-most efficient offense in the country, according to KenPom.com, and feature one of the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Award in 6-foot-8 Niang.

How far can this team go in the NCAA Tournament? Getting out of Big 12 play and facing unfamiliar teams may end up helping the Cyclones in the long run. The Cyclones have lost 7 of 11 games by five points or less with two of those losses coming in overtime so they will need to work harder at closing at those close contests.

Last time in the NCAA Tournament? Last season (2015).  Upset in the Second Round to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. UAB upset the 3-seed Iowa State 60-59.