To face North Carolina when you’re healthy is tough enough, but to do it without Georges Niang?
Stranger things have happened, I guess. They call this March Madness, right? We’re programmed to expect things like Mercer over Duke, but for the second year in a row, the foot area is Iowa State’s Achilles’ heel.
With 7½ minutes remaining in the third-seeded Cyclones’ 93-75 victory against North Carolina Central in the second round of the East Regional on Friday, Niang broke his right ankle. Thinking it was just a cramp, he played a couple more possessions. He even scored a broken-foot basket. He played until limping off the floor and getting an X-ray. Broken.
He’s done for the season, just like Chris Babb was after missing the second half against Ohio State in last year’s NCAA Tournament, thanks to a sprained ankle.
“I didn’t even think of that until now,” Niang said, near tears in the locker room after a big ol’ hug from his roomie, Naz Long.
It didn’t matter that Niang scored 15 of