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Favorite time of year is finally here

March 21, 2013 - Troy Hyde
There is no question that my two favorite sports weekends of the year are the first four days of the NCAA Tournament and the NFL Draft.

We are currently underway in the NCAA Tournament, and if I am not glued to a TV, then you can bet I am trying to find the games on the radio, internet or my phone. There is just something about college basketball in March that gets me fired up. Lower-seeded teams always have a chance. Upsets are bound to happen. And the best part is that we just don't know when they will happen.

I filled out three different brackets this year. My most popular Final Four is Louisville, Duke, Ohio State and Indiana. I also have Michigan State in one Final Four as well as Florida.

Iowa State

The Cyclones are back in the NCAA Tournament under Fred Hoiberg and they are going to have to overcome the luck of the Irish to advance. The meeting against Notre Dame on Friday is going to be all about tempo.

The Fighting Irish have four post players at least 6-foot-10 in size. They'll try to slow it down and pump the ball inside the lane all night. Iowa State will jack up 3-pointers as usual and will try to speed the game up and get things going the speed they like it -- fast.

The Big East has not played great so far in the the tournament but one of the Big 12's best teams -- Oklahoma State -- has already lost. So this one is anyone's game and whoever controls the tempo will win.

Iowa

The Hawkeyes basketball program is back. And so are the fans.

I was able to be in attendance for Wednesday's NIT game against Indiana State and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. Iowa sold out its arena with 15,400 fans, which was easily the best home crowd in the tournament. The next best attended game was a crowd of just more than 7,000 fans.

The Hawkeyes can use these games as part of their growing up process. Iowa is young and needs to play in as many games as possible to build for next season. The Hawkeyes future is bright and if Roy Devyn Marble continues to play on the level he is playing at, Iowa will have a chance against anyone.

Stony Brook is up next. And another sold-out crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena awaits.

Drake

The Bulldogs are not in the postseason but they have an important coaching decision to make for their men's program.

Favorites to land this job for me include Indiana State's Greg Lansing and Iowa State's T.J. Otzelberger. The list should really start and end there. But Iowa assistant coach Andrew Francis will get a head coaching look soon. Perhaps, Drake calls him for an interview as well.

UNI

The Panthers won another postseason game under Ben Jacobson. UNI is on the verge of taking back the Missouri Valley Conference. Especially since Creighton is on the way out.

Jacobson brings back two starters from this year's team in Seth Tuttle and Deon Mitchell and also welcomes back freshman Matt Bohannon. But the three instate guys Jacobson is bringing in next year will make immediate impacts.

Iowa City West's Jeremy Morgan was just voted the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year and Ankeny's Ted Friedman will add depth to the post. Klinton Carlson averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds per game for Class 3A champion Waverly-Shell Rock.

You can't always teach winning. And those three guys have been a part of three successful high school programs the past few seasons. Iowa City West was the Class 4A champion and Ankeny also advanced to the state tournament in 2012 and reached the semifinals.

 
 

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