Iowa State players and coaches gathered at Johnny's inside Hilton Coliseum Sunday to await its NCAA Tournament draw.
After two regions were announced without showing the Cyclones, the big news arrived.
Iowa State earned a 6 seed and will play 11 seed Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be played in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Friday.
"It's good to see," said freshman guard Tyrese Haliburton. "Just growing up and watching this at home — to see your name come up is pretty big-time."
The players and coaches said they don't know much about Ohio State yet. The last time anyone on the current roster faced Ohio State was Feb. 18, 2017, when now-redshirt junior forward Michael Jacobson was a sophomore at Nebraska. He had four points and six rebounds in a 58-57 Nebraska win.
For most of this roster, in fact, Friday's game will be their first taste of the NCAA Tournament.
Only two players — redshirt senior guards Nick Weiler-Babb and Marial Shayok — have played in the NCAA Tournament before. Shayok did so as a member of Virginia before he transferred to Iowa State last season.
"It feels great," Shayok said. "We're all excited to be back in the tournament ... I know what to expect, but for the young guys, I think we play best when we're excited."
There was chatter among bracketologists before Sunday that Iowa State could be as high as a 4 seed or as low as a 6. Coach Steve Prohm acknowledged the 6 seed is on the lower end of expectations, but said the team is just happy to be back in the big dance.
"We knew it would be somewhere between a 6 and a 5 seed," Haliburton said. "Coming into the weekend we thought we were about a 7 the way we played toward the end of the year. We're cool with a 6 seed."
The positive news for Iowa State? The team is heading to Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is a seven-hour drive from Ames.
Other than Des Moines, which is hosting for the second time ever, Tulsa was the closest possible destination.
"I really did not wanna play in San Jose," Haliburton said with a laugh. "I knew Iowa State fans would travel well no matter where we play but mostly it was about a lot of our families ... it'd be easier for people to get to Tulsa than San Jose."
Now, the Cyclones will focus their attention on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ohio State went 19-14 (8-12 Big Ten) this season and is in the second year of coach Chris Holtmann's tenure at the helm. Ohio State earned a 5 seed in last year's tournament and made the second round before losing to 4 seed Gonzaga.
"Whoever you play whether it's Ohio State or Cincinnati or whoever in the first round, everybody's good," Prohm said. "Especially this time of year. You've gotta be a good team to advance from the first round to the last round.
"I don't know much about their personnel. I don't know much about their style of play."