Location: Ames, IA
Conference: Big 12
Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record: 25-8 (12-6)
Kenpom ranking: 13
Good wins (Kenpom ranking): vs Oklahoma x 2 (9), vs. Texas x 3 (19), vs. Kansas (11)
Bad losses (Kenpom ranking): @ Texas Tech (156), @ Kansas State (81), vs. South Carolina (67)
Tournament appearances: 17 (current streak: 4)
Best result: Final Four (1944)
NBA alumni: Jeff Hornacek Jamaal Tinsley and Fred Hoiberg (what happened to him?)
Best name: Naz Long
Famous alumni: George Washington Carver and a bunch of Olympic wrestlers
You picked against Iowa State, and everything is going swell. The team you picked is up by 15 in the first half. You're ready to take the Sharpie out and cross the Cyclones off your bracket. But the Cyclones are never done: They came back from double-digit deficits in their last five games of the year, including every game in their Big 12 tournament run. They trailed Kansas in the championship game by 17 for their second straight title.
Style of play: Attack of the Clones
Iowa State has the seventh-most efficient offense in college basketball, and have a slew of ways to beat you. Most everybody on the team can shoot the deep ball, but they'd prefer to beat you inside. Smart shot selection and some atypical skillsets lead to the team shooting 54.7 percent inside the arc, 10th-best in the country.
Key player: The Knight Who Says Niang
Georges Niang is a guard trapped in a big man's body, a prototypical point forward. At 6'8, he's often the tallest player on the floor for the Cyclones, but he's much more likely to bring the ball upcourt than to stand in the paint battling for post position. He'll drive past big men or shoot over them -- he hits 40 percent of his threes -- and he'll body little guys. And he'll fill a defensively "big" role on defense, too.
Fred Hoiberg's nickname is "The Mayor," and it might as well be his actual title. At Ames High, he played QB and won a state title in hoops. As an ISU player, he brought the Cyclones to the tourney three times. He was so popular that he reportedly earned write-in votes in the 1993 mayoral election -- hence the nickname. After a 10-year NBA career, he was an easy choice to become ISU's head coach in 2010, and it's paid off with four straight NCAA trips.