Hype then hoops on Saturday, just like a year ago

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About 14 months ago, the Iowa State men’s basketball team hosted Michigan and popular TV analyst Dick Vitale was making his first visit to Hilton Coliseum. There was great buzz.

Same song Saturday night, different verse.

ESPN GameDay Covered by State Farm is coming to Ames for the first time.

That means the sport’s premiere “talking heads” show will originate from Hilton.

It’s free publicity. It’s the big stage.

The school is excited. The student body is primed. The players and coaches are eager.

Nine hours after Rece Davis and his partners – former Duke “Jays” (Williams and Bilas) and former college coach Seth Greenberg – have signed off, the Cyclones will host Kansas.

Hoiberg was asked if the fanfare for the show creates special challenges for the team’s preparations. The coach admitted it could, but quickly dismissed it as a distraction because of the maturity and mindset of his team.

Once the game tips off, ESPN GameDay will be a great memory and a perfect prelude to a matchup between two of the better teams in the nation’s toughest conference.

A year ago when Vitale visited, the pre-game hype was at a fever pitch. That happens when he works the crowd.

When the game against Michigan tipped off, the hype gave way to a great game and ISU responded with a win.

A repeat of that script would be welcome in Ames.

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