NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College men's basketball team will be headed to Valparaiso, IN to face Valparaiso University in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, it was announced today. The Gaels (22-11) will continue its season and play in a postseason tournament for the first time since an NCAA appearance in 2006. The two teams will square off on Wednesday (Mar. 16) at 8:05 pm ET.
Iona has won nine of its last 10 games, the only defeat a crushing loss to Saint Peter's in the MAAC Championship final. Juniors Mike Glover and Scott Machado have led the Gaels this season as the squad's top two scorers. Both performers were named All-MAAC First Team and the MAAC All-Tournament Team.
Glover averages a team-best 18.2 points and 10.2 rebounds, both rank No. 2 in the MAAC. He shot 60.3% from the field, converting 228-of-378 shot attempts. He is the first Iona player in 31 seasons to average more than 10 rebounds per game. Glover recorded a team-best 28 games with 10 or more points and 18 double-doubles.
Machado is No. 2 on the team in scoring with 13.6 ppg. He ranks No. 3 in the nation in assists per game with his 7.5/g average. Machado set a new single-season Iona record for assists with 248 on the season. He's the Gaels' No. 3 rebounder (3.9/g) and has posted nine points-assists double-doubles.
Valparaiso finished fourth in the Horizon League regular season, a game behind the three-way tie for first place in Milwaukee, Butler and Cleveland State. The Crusaders hold a 23-11 overall record after falling to Milwaukee in the Horizon semifinal round.
Red shirt junior Brandon Wood is the squad's leading scorer and playmaker averaging 17.0 ppg and 3.2 apg. Wood was an All-Horizon First Team selection. Senior Cory Johnson boasts a 14.1 ppg average while sophomore Ryan Broekhoff avarages 10.4 ppg, a team best 5.1 rpg and 60 three-point field goals for the Crusaders.
Iona last faced Valpo two seasons ago on Nov. 22, 2008 in the second game at the 2008 Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, USVI. The Gaels handed the Crusaders a 75-55 defeat holding their opponent to just 28.8% shooting from the field. Five members of this season's squad appeared in the game with Rashon Dwight's 10 points, Jermel Jenkins' six rebounds and Machado's seven assists leading the way. Four current Crusaders appeared in the contest. Senior Howard Little had six points and 14 rebounds vs. the Gaels in 2008.
The Maroon & Gold is 9-13 against current Horizon League opponents regardless of their league affiliation. Since the creation of the formerly named Midwestern City Conference in 1979, the Gaels are 7-5 against teams in the league. Iona’s most frequent Horizon League opponent has been Detroit, though the two teams have not met since 1996. The Gaels fell to 2011 Horizon League Regular Season Co-Champion Cleveland State in the squad's second game this season.
The CIT is a 24-team tournament that will feature 12 first-round games. Four of the teams that win first-round games will advance to the quarterfinals, while the other eight teams will play for the right to advance to the quarterfinals. The CAA's Old Dominion won the inaugural CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship in 2009. While last season's title was taken home by the MVC's Missouri State.
The MAAC has had a representative in the tournament in each of its three year's in existence. Rider competed in the 2009 CIT, losing to Liberty on the road in the opening round. Fairfield won its first game in the 2010 CIT, topping George Mason in a dramatic 101-96 overtime victory. They fell at Creighton in the quarterfinal round.