Donning some cartoonish lime-green jerseys reminiscent of a monochrome crayon box, Notre Dame ended its season with a colossal meltdown.
The seventh-seeded Fighting Irish showed remarkably little fight against No. 10 Iowa State in Dayton, Ohio, dropping a 76-58 decision that continued a program-wide disappointment in the NCAA tournament.
Despite being seeded no worse than seventh in six straight March Madness appearances, Notre Dame hasn’t reached the Sweet Sixteen since 2003. The Fighting Irish entered the tournament ranked first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.61), but coughed up 18 giveaways against just nine assists. Forward Jack Cooley, among the nation’s best offensive rebounders, was limited to just five boards, while Notre Dame’s bench managed only 11 points.
Iowa State, which boasts wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma (twice), bullied the Fighting Irish inside behind 36 total points from forwards Georges Niang and Melvin Ejim, and caught fire from the perimeter (9 of 21 on three-pointers).
The Cyclones now advance to face No. 2 Ohio State. They haven’t reached advanced past the second round since 2000, when a team led by Marcus Fizer, Michael Nurse and Jamaal Tinsley fell to eventual champion Michigan State in the Elite Eight.
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