League elite on same path to Final Four

For the 12th time overall and fifth year in a row, Bill Fennelly has guided his Cyclone women’s basketball team to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship.

As the #7 seed in the Philadelphia Region, Iowa State faces Marist in Durham, N.C. Saturday at 10 a.m. CT.

The Red Foxes have won 26 games in a row and they defend hard. Marist led the nation in scoring defense (48 ppg) and its foes made less than one-third of their shots. Fennelly and his staff will be working tirelessly to devise ways to create shots for Kelsey Bolte and her teammates.

Along with trying to advance, the Cyclones and six of their league peers will be carrying the banner of the Big 12 in the NCAA Tournament.

Baylor and Texas A&M – the top two seeds in the Dallas Region – could play each other with a Final Four berth on the line. It would be the fourth meeting of the season for those schools. A similar situation exists in another region where Stanford and UCLA are lined for a potential fourth encounter.

That is tough for a league when two of its nationally elite clubs are on the same path to the Final Four. Earlier in my career, I worked with a team at Wisconsin that played Michigan State four times one season but the last game was in the Final Four.

“Geographic principles and procedures (governed these decisions),” ESPN’s Kara Lawson said of the possible fourth game match-ups. “The committee is following their guidelines.”

I hope they re-consider the guidelines and the chair of the women’s basketball committee said they would study it at the Final Four.

Seven bids for the Big 12 is legitimate and impressive. Beyond the Bears and Aggies, the other five seeds are in the middle-of-the-pack (seeds between 6-9). Although the possible collision for the league’s top two teams doesn’t seem right, that discussion will wait for another day.

Right now, it’s win and advance. Go Cyclones!

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

 

 

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