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2019 NCAA tournament preview: Iona

Iona Gaels: 17-15, 12-6 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Head Coach: Tim Cluess (9th season)

Players to watch: E.J. Crawford (17.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG); Ricky McGill (15.5 PPG, 5.0 APG); Tajuan Agee (13.3 PPG, 8.1 RPG)

Season Recap: Despite a mediocre record, the Gaels came out on top in both the regular season and tournament for the MAAC, as most teams in the conference beat up on each other. Iona doesn’t have any standout wins on the season, but challenged itself early in the year with games against tournament teams and other mid-majors. The Gaels found themselves toward the middle of the pack back in February, but a 10-game winning streak has propelled them to their fourth straight tournament berth.

Head coach Tim Cluess wants his team to get out and run, and the Gaels are not afraid to take quick shots, especially from beyond the arc. Each of their top five scorers shoots at least 32 percent from three, and they return a lot of experienced tournament players who know what the NCAA tournament is about. One of the big weaknesses of Iona is its defense, something it's improved over the course of its winning streak, but against inferior competition. Keep an eye on its work on the boards, as it only ranks 272nd in rebounding margin on the year.

How they make a run: The Gaels force their opponent to play fast and create some opportunities off turnovers.

How they falter: They get overwhelmed by size and athleticism in their first game against a Power 5 opponent. 


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