The confirmation came at 5:29 p.m. Sunday when Greg Gumbel said, “The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, with Mike Brey in charge, will take on the Iowa State Cyclones from the Big 12.”It was a certainty the Cyclones would hear their name on the NCAA Tournament Selection Show. That’s the situation when you win 22 games against a schedule ranked 42nd nationally and count numerous victories and near misses against keen competition. Three years ago, Chris Babb and Anthony Booker transferred to Iowa State with a vision. Two years ago, Korie Lucious, Will Clyburn and Tyrus McGee left programs to join the Cyclones, and they arrived with a belief. That quintet hoped that ISU, under the direction of Coach Fred Hoiberg, could build a NCAA tourney-worthy team. You can only imagine the satisfaction that Babb, Booker, Lucious, Clyburn and McGee must be feeling today.
· Babb’s old school (Penn State) has registered a 41-56 record since he left;
· Booker’s Southern Illinois team recorded a 35-59 mark after he departed;
· Clyburn’s Utah club was 21-43 in the two years since he moved;
· Lucious’ Michigan State team is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and was 54-16, but his role is far greater at ISU; and
· McGee, who attended Cowley County CC, saw his old school post a 42-21 since he moved but the transition to major college Division 1 basketball was a personal goal.
Perhaps, Babb’s Twitter post last night said it best: @Agent2: “2 years playin as a Cyclone, 2 years in NCAA Tournament… Let’s get it.”
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A lot of hard work from a lot of individuals earned the Cyclones their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. For these five, who interrupted their college careers with mid-career moves, it must be especially sweet.