Monday, March 17, 2014

Iona Traveling to Louisiana Tech For NIT Contest

Here's another in the series previewing the post-season opportunities for conference teams.


The Gaels secured their post-season berth by virtue of winning the conference's regular-season title, an achievement that guaranteed them an NIT trip if they did not advance to the NCAA's.

After falling to Manhattan in the MAAC tournament's championship game, the Gaels are indeed headed to the NIT and a trip to Louisiana Tech for their first-round contest on Wednesday at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, La.

Iona, 22-10 this year, is a No. 6 seed in one of the NIT's four eight-team brackets, while Louisiana Tech is a No. 3 seed.

The Gaels rank fourth nationally in points scored per game (83.5) and second with 10.31 three-pointers made per contest.

Louisiana Tech is another conference regular-season champion, having finished in a four-way tie for first place in Conference USA. Like Iona it entered its league's post-season tournament as a No. 1 seed and lost in its championship contest, 69-60, to Tulsa.

Louisiana Tech, like Iona, also prefers an uptempo style and ranks 12th nationally in scoring (81.5 ppg.). However, it only allows 65.1 points per game, and its scoring margin (16.4 ppg.) is second-best nationally.

And, like Iona, the Bulldogs are perimeter oriented and have a balanced scoring attack.

Alex Hamilton, a 6-4 sophomore guard, leads his team in scoring at 14.6. Raheem Appleby, a 6-4 junior guard, averages 12.3 points, Chris Anderson, a 6-6 senior forward, averages 12.0 points, and Kenyon McNeail, a 6-1 senior guard, averages 10.8 points. The first starter is 6-9 forward Michale Keyser, who averages 6.8 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Iona is making its fifth appearance in the NIT and its first since 1997.

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