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Iowa History Daily: March 23 - Iowa State in the Elite Eight

On March 23, 2000, the Iowa State Cyclone men’s Basketball beat UCLA 80-56 to move on to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament. The win propelled the Cyclones to their deepest run in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in the modern era (Iowa State advanced to the Final Four in the 1943-44 season when only eight teams competed in the tournament).

Second-year head coach Larry Eustachy’s team ultimately finished the season 32-5, undefeated at Hilton Coliseum, and featured a 14-2 Big 12 regular season conference title. Following wins over Baylor and Oklahoma State, the Cyclones closed out a BIG 12 Tournament Championship by beating Oklahoma 70-58 to secure a #2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. 

Marcus Fizer and Jamaal Tinsley fueled the deepest NCAA Tournament run for Iowa State in the modern era. Coming into the season, the roster for Iowa State seemed uncertain after six players either transferred or were dismissed from the team. A patchwork group with players from across the country, three Iowans (Brandon Nicol, Graettinger, Clint Varley, Menlo, and Brad Davis, Knoxville) filled out the Cyclone roster.

The Cyclones opened the tournament with wins over Central Connecticut (88-78) and Auburn (79-60) before squaring off with the sixth-seeded Bruins in the Sweet Sixteen. Marcus Fizer, Stevie Johnson, and Michael Nurse each chipped in 16 points, while Jamaal Tinsely added 14 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds as Iowa State routed UCLA. Iowa State ultimately fell to eventual champion Michigan State in the Elite Eight, 64-75 in a contest perhaps best remembered for the 48 called fouls, including the infamous “Blarge” involving Paul Shirley, and a double-technical on Larry Eustachy with 9.9 seconds remaining. #IowaHistoryMonth #IowaHistoryCalendar


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