Iowa State had a pregame issue with the rims, and rims got their revenge on Cyclones

John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

If only Iowa State could blame it on the rims.

Before the first-round meeting with Pittsburgh, Iowa State requested NCAA officials check out a rim to determine if it was level. Greensboro Coliseum officials made a minor adjustment and offered the Cyclones additional warmup time.

Iowa State declined, then proceeded to shoot an abysmal 23.3 percent from the floor in a 59-41 loss to Pittsburgh in an NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional contest.

The total marked the second lowest in Iowa State tournament history, behind the 31 the Cyclones scored in a 1944 loss to Utah.

Friday, minutes burned from the clock between Iowa State points. The Cyclones fell behind 22-2 to start the game with both points coming on free throws. Their first field goal was recorded with 9:55 remaining before halftime.

But the rest of the half turned out to be some of Iowa State’s finest moments. A few shots fell, the defense picked up and the Cyclones almost miraculously trailed only 30-23 at halftime,

Surely, they couldn’t duplicate the first half effort, and Iowa State didn’t.

It got worse. At one point in the second half, the Cyclones had missed 23 of 25 from the floor.. They used a flurry of points in the final minute to reach 18 for the half.

Missed shots were the biggest — but not the only — issue for Iowa State. A lane violation allowed Pitt an extra attempt at the free throw line, which it made. Offensive basket interference cost the Cyclones a bucket. Leading scorer Gabe Kalscheur went 1-for-8 on three-pointers and the team went 2-for-21.

The team with a nation-leading six victories over top 10 opponents this season, that entered the tournament as a 6 seed, couldn’t buy a basket and exited with the second-lowest point total in its NCAA history.

But those rims...