No. 6 seed Iowa State turned in an all-time stinker of a performance on offense in its 59-41 loss to No. 11 seed Pittsburgh in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, shooting 23.3% from the field and 2-of-21 from 3-point range. The Cyclones, though, may have a built-in (and fairly legitimate) excuse for their lowest scoring outing in more than a year that ended their season: a rim that was deemed unlevel before the game started.
In pregame warmups, the Cyclones apparently felt the rim they were shooting at was not level, which triggered them to ask officials at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, if they could verify it was level. After building personnel brought out ladders and levels to investigate, they determined it was not, prompting them to make an adjustment that cut into the team's warmups.
"Iowa State asked us during pregame warmups to check if the rim was level," the NCAA said in a statement. "Building personnel checked it and made a minor adjustment prior to the game beginning."
Iowa State was offered additional time to warm up before the game but declined, the NCAA added.
What followed could quite possibly be considered the worst start for a team in NCAA Tournament history. Pitt roared out to a 20 point lead and Iowa State mustered just two points (!!) through the first 10 minutes of play. The Cyclones cut the deficit to seven at halftime and managed to hang around, but the second half didn't get much better. After shaking off some uglies early, ISU in the second half went 5 of 29 from the field and 1 of 10 from 3-point range and scored just 18 points. Per college basketball reference data, ISU's 23.3% field goal percentage is the fifth-worst by a team in the NCAA Tournament since at least 2011.
Follow along with Round 1 action from the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
"It definitely wasn't a factor," said Iowa State's Tre King, who had 11 points on 2-of-5 shooting in the loss. "One thing we've always talked about is that adversity is always coming. That was just one of those things that wasn't for us in the beginning."
Of course, both teams have to shoot at the same goal for an equal amount of time during the game -- they switch sides at the half -- but it's less than ideal for an NCAA Tournament site to not have a level rim. And that may be something to watch moving forward, too, because after the game, guess what was back? The ladders and the level again.
As omens go, not ideal. https://t.co/tslJq1o6N5 pic.twitter.com/nadcCQHU01— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 17, 2023
No. 6 seed Kentucky and No. 11 seed Providence played at the Greensboro Coliseum following the Cyclones-Pitt game and waas to be followed by the nightcap between No. 3 seed Kansas State and No. 14 seed Montana State.
"I felt like our guys were working really hard to get great opportunities and their effort was good, but Pitt had a sound plan, and it worked for them here today. So credit to their defense," Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger said.