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Fred Hoiberg, Fran Dunphy both take step forward

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

DAYTON, Ohio -- Fran Dunphy began coaching at the college level before Fred Hoiberg was even born.

In general, the two coaches are not that similar. Hoiberg is 24 years younger and has been a head coach for 21 fewer years.

Yet both head coaches took a major step forward Friday. Hoiberg and Iowa State knocked off Notre Dame to give the Cyclones a win in their second consecutive NCAA tournament, and Dunphy won his third NCAA tournament game as Temple defeated North Carolina State.

For Iowa State, it was the first time the school has won games in back-to-back NCAA tournaments since 1996-97, before Marcus Fizer was terrorizing opponents in the Big 12. On the other side, Dunphy won for just the third time in 15 NCAA tournament appearances.

When Hoiberg took over in Ames, the Cyclones had suffered through four consecutive seasons of sub-.500 basketball, and had only been to one NCAA tournament since 2001.

Now, Iowa State is one win from heading to Los Angeles for the Sweet 16.

“Our past two years, we've really had great strides in the right direction, and I credit that to coach Fred and the coaching staff and the guys they've been able to bring in and just come together and buy into our program,” Melvin Ejim said.

Last season, Iowa State beat Connecticut in the Round of 64, then played Kentucky tight for about 24 minutes before the Wildcats pulled away down the stretch.

“We feel like we're doing something special here, putting Iowa State back on the map,” guard Korie Lucious added. “Last year was a stepping-stone to keep building for this year. And we're just going to keep doing whatever we can to make Cyclone Nation proud.”

Dunphy has developed a reputation for opening-round exits in the NCAA tournament, advancing past the Round of 64 only twice heading into this year. Despite the postseason struggles, he has had fewer than 20 wins in a season just six times since 1992.

Under John Chaney, Temple had a rich history, going to the NCAA tournament 17 times and getting to the Elite Eight five times. Since Dunphy took over in 2006, though, the Owls had won just one game in the big dance.

That changed on Friday.

“Any time you can win a game in the tournament, it's very, very important to your program,” Dunphy said. “John Chaney was a spectacular basketball coach. He was a Hall of Famer. He had a wonderful way of playing the game in terms of winning, and they were unique. Our program now is not unique. We just kind of play simple basketball, trying to go at you with the best we've got.

“But ... it's very important for us to establish ourselves as a team that can win in the NCAA tournament.”

Next year could be a struggle for both squads. Temple loses four starters -- including Khalif Wyatt -- and bench contributor T.J DiLeo, and Dunphy admits they're going to be “different” and will need “to reinvent” themselves. Meanwhile, Iowa State also bids farewell to several rotation players -- but still brings back Ejim and Georges Niang.

But winning a game in the NCAA tournament is always a step in the right direction.

As a result, despite being completely different coaches and teams, Friday was a building block for each one.

 
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