Introducing Cinderella: The Iona Gaels are back in the dance for the third straight season

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Conference: MAAC

Coach: Tim Cluess

Record: 20-13 (11-7 MAAC)

Ratings and Rankings:

– Kenpom: 137
– RPI: 112
– AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding: The Gaels finished the regular season in fourth in the MAAC and while their RPI isn’t horrible for teams that get the automatic bids, they only have one win over a team in the top two Quadrants. They should be able to avoid a play-in game and they might actually get a No. 15 seed depending on how this thing shakes out.

Names you need to know: The Gaels don’t have the same kind of star power this season that they’ve have in the past. The best player on the team is probably Rickey McGill, a junior point guard, but there is some more balance on this roster than in years past. Schadrac Casimir, E.J. Crawford and Deyshonee Much can all take a game over.

Stats you need to know: Tim Cluess always plays the same way. He wants to get out and run, wants to put up big numbers on the scoreboard and he is willing to sacrifice on the defensive end to do it. If anything, he’s more likely to do so this year as the Gaels lack the a low-post hoss this year.

Big wins, bad losses: The best win that Iona landed this season was likely against Weber State, their first win of the season. Beyond that, they lost three out of four games to the MAAC co-champs Rider and Canisius.

How’d they get here?: After finishing in fourth-place in the MAAC during the regular season, Iona caught a break with St. Peter’s picked off Rider, the No. 1 seed, in the quarterfinals. After getting past them, Iona played Fairfield, the No. 6 seed, in the title game. The Gaels won the automatic bid without playing a single team seeded higher than them.

Outlook: It’s obviously going to depend on matchup, but the Gaels are likely going to draw one of the best teams in the country. I’m not sure if there is a team that they can beat that will be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.

How do I know you?: Seeing how Iona has been to the NCAA tournament in three straight seasons and in five of the last seven years, I have a feeling you are at least familiar with the program. That said, they have only won one game in their NCAA tournament history and that was vacated by the NCAA.

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