Iona Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Iona Gaels
MAAC (20-13, 11-7)

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After really taking it to the MAAC last year in the regular season, Iona turned around in 2012-2013 to run the table in the tournament and earn the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.  For the second year in a row, Iona was one of the highest scoring teams in the nation.  They lost a number of games because of their defense and the fact that they play in an underrated conference with stiff competition.  With two tournament bids in a row for Iona, Tim Cluess seems to be building the Gaels into somewhat of a mainstay in the Big Dance.  Whether it be at-large or tournament championship, Iona gets it done.

Big Wins: 11/09 Denver (65-58), 12/31 at St. Bonaventure (93-74), 1/27 at Loyola (MD) (79-71)
Bad Losses: 12/05 at St. Peter’s (62-64), 2/07 Marist (104-105), 2/15 at Manhattan (73-74)
Coach: Tim Cluess (3 seasons at Iona)

Why They Can Surprise:
As stated before, the Gaels are the nation’s third highest scoring team.  They can give just about anyone a run for their money in that department.  Over 80 points a game is a lot.  They can shoot from anywhere as well.  They shoot 37.3 percent from three-point land and shoot from there often.  They hit around nine per game.  A lot of their scoring success can be contributed to their guard play.  Sean Armand and Tre Bowman shoot over 40 percent from outside.  Lamont Jones, their best overall player, is their leader in the backcourt.  At 23 points per game, he shoots 44 percent from the field and 88 percent from the foul line.  The offense revolves around him.  As a unit, the guards do not turn the ball over a lot.  They are dribble-drivers and look to kick the ball out whenever possible.  It is a big part of their offense.  Also, opponents should keep them off the foul line.  They shoot over 77 percent, fourth best in the nation.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Iona’s defense overall is one of the worst in Division I.  They give up nearly as many points as they score (76) and allow other teams to shoot 45 percent from the field.  They are not the most athletic team, so they do not always matchup pound-for-pound.  They are not a very big team, and they cannot clog the lane.  They do not have a true center on the roster.  Their tallest player is 6’8”.  David Laury is about the only player to pull down rebounds for the Gaels.  The defense only blocks three shots per game.  The worst aspect of their defense is their inability to stop three-point shooters.  They are among the worst in the country at allowing threes (36 percent).  The most favorable matchup for Iona would be to play an offensive team like themselves.  If they go up against a team that can guard, they are going to have trouble winning a defensive game.

Probable Starters:
Lamont Jones, Senior, Guard, 23.0 ppg, 3.5 apg
Sean Armand, Junior, Guard, 16.6 ppg, 3.0 apg, 5.1 rpg
Tavon Sledge, Sophomore, Guard, 5.6 ppg, 3.2 apg
Taaj Ridley, Senior, Forward, 8.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg
David Laury, Sophomore, Forward, 13.1 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.6 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Tre Bowman, Junior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 81.3 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 76.3 (333, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (92, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.0 (277, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.6 (10, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.3 (49, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.6 (4, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.2 (173, 5)
Assists Per Game: 15.6 (22, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (68, 3)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    First Round loss to BYU
2011    CIT        First Round win over Valparaiso
2011    CIT        Quarterfinal win over Buffalo
2011    CIT        Semifinal win over East Tennessee State
2011    CIT        Final loss to Santa Clara
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to LSU
2001    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Mississippi
2000    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Maryland

*all team stats through 3/10


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