March 18, 2023 | 18:01
Maybe Iowa State could actually blame its 41-point performance in the NCAA Tournament, where it shot just 23% from the field, on the rims.
NCAA has issued a statement during the Cyclones’ opening-round game against Pittsburgh that revealed Iowa State asked Greensboro Coliseum building personnel to look at the pregame for their basket and “check if the rim was level” — resulting in what the NCAA called a “minor adjustment.”
“We offered them extra warm-up time, but they declined,” the NCAA’s statement continued.
The Cyclones then went on to shoot 29% at that basket in the opening half – although senior forward Tre King tried to downplay the effect after the game.
“It was definitely not a factor,” King told reporters. “One thing we’ve always talked about is how adversity always comes and, you know, how we deal with it. It was just one of those things that wasn’t for us at the beginning and we knew it and we didn’t care and we just knew we had to come out and play even harder.”
According to a cut the tweet from the ColosseumPittsburgh players appeared to warm up as normal while a ladder was stationed under Iowa State’s basket.
But the Cyclones actually shot worse in the second half at the other end of the court, making just 5 of 29 field goal attempts over the final 20 minutes.
Iowa State didn’t have one of the nation’s top offenses this season, but it still averaged 67.6 points per game during the regular season — only shooting under 40% from the field four times, and never under 30%.
But against the Panthers, Iowa State didn’t connect on its first basket until 9:55 remained in the opening half, when Jaren Holmes connected on a layup.
The Cyclones closed the deficit to seven points at halftime, but then managed just 18 total points for the rest of the game.
Overall, Iowa State shot 23% from the field, went 2-for-21 on 3-pointers and finished with the second fewest points in program history for an NCAA Tournament game, according to The Gazette.
Asked about the impact of the pregame break — and the rim adjustment — on his team, Iowa State head coach TJ Otzelberger said, “I don’t know.”
“I can’t speak for our guys,” Otzelberger said. “I wasn’t sure what happened. When I came out they checked it and obviously there was a delay.
“So I want to think our guys have enough mental toughness. We’ve been in a lot of big games and a lot of tough environments that wouldn’t affect us, but I can’t speak for them exactly about that and how it affected them mentally.
Pittsburgh, a No. 11 seed, advanced to face No. 3 seed Xavier in the round of 32 on Sunday.