Friday, March 9, 2012

MAAC Makes Case for Iona's NCAA At-Large Bid

Want to make a case for the Iona men's team's inclusion as an at-large inclusion to the upcoming NCAA tournament?

MAAC officials have done that, with the NCAA-allowed one-page information sheet that will get distributed to selection committee members.

Here are highlights, all very supportive of the Gaels' chances:

- Iona leads the NCAA in scoring offense (88.3 points per game), assits per game (19.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.563), and ranks second in field-goal percentage at 50.4 percent.
- It won the conference's regular-season title.
- Senior guard Scott Machado leads the nation in assists with 9.9 per game.
- Iona leads the MAAC in scoring margin (+10.7), field goal percentage (50.4), 3-point field goal percentage (39.3), 3-point field goals made (7.8), turnover margin (+3.56 per game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6).
- Iona has strong non-conference victories over Nevada (No. 47 in the Ratings Percentage Index as of Thursday) and Saint Joseph's (No. 55). Iona is 5-3 against teams in the RPI's top 100.
- Iona is tied for second in the NCAA with Harvard for victories (15) away from their home building. Murray State leads with a 17-0 away-from-home record.
- Tied for fifth in the NCAA with 11 victories in oppoonents' buildings.
- Played 65.7 percent of its games away from home and holds the second-highest overall winning percentage of the 45 teams that have played more than 60 percent of its games on the road.
- Currently ranked No. 41 in the RPI with an out-of-conference strength of schedule rated 45th toughest nationally.

Does it get Iona into the NCAA tournament?

Objectively, it has the Gaels positioned on the proverbial bubble. Whether that bubble bursts remains to be seen with the only definitive answer coming Sunday night when the field of 68 teams becomes official.

The strong hope here is that it's enough. It's tough to watch teams with mediocre records from the-called power conferences get in and, then, see teams with 25 regular-season victories, including five against top-100 programs, get left out.

For much more, and a terrific look at Iona's case, read MAAC assistant commissioner's insightful and detailed view of the Gaels' situation from a rare perspective.

Ken participated in the NCAA's mock selection procedure in February and, below, is his well-presented opinion on how the 2012 NCAA field stacks up for the selection committee based on his insight and experience. Again, terrific reading:

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