AMES, Iowa (AP) — The debate over Iowa State’s decision to hire Fred Hoiberg two years ago included at least one point everyone could agree on.

Even if Hoiberg could make the transition from NBA executive to Big 12 coach, it was going to take time.

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Well, “The Mayor” has arrived and he’s way ahead of schedule.

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The Ames native and former Iowa State star has improbably pushed his local legend to new heights. Just 23 months after taking his first coaching job at any level, Hoiberg was named the Big 12’s co-Coach of the Year and his Cyclones (22-10) are in the NCAA tournament for the first time in seven years.

Eighth-seeded Iowa State will face defending national champion Connecticut (20-13) on Thursday.

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