Iona, LIU Brooklyn local teams going to NCAA tourney
The NCAA tournament is becoming old hat for LIU Brooklyn. They just didn’t get any respect from the tournament selection committee because of it.
The Blackbirds won the NEC for the third straight season, but were relegated to the play-in round in Dayton, Ohio. They were given a No. 16 seed and will face CAA champions James Madison for the right to play East Region No. 1 seed Indiana.
The game will be on Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. on truTV.
They were a No. 15 seed against North Carolina in 2011 and a No. 16 seed against Michigan State last year. They dipped one rung lower this year with a spot in the play-in game.
But they aren’t going to be hopelessly outmanned if they do get a shot to face Indiana. They have NEC Player of the Year Jamal Olasewere (18.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game) and C.J. Garner, who exploded for 31 points against Mount St. Mary’s in the conference tournament final.
Iona heads back to dance
The Gaels made it into last year’s Big Dance as literally the last team. This year they took care of business themselves by winning the MAAC.
To do so they had to eliminate local rival Manhattan. Next comes a big step up in competition as Iona secured a No. 15 seed and a matchup with West Region No. 2 Ohio State on Friday.
Last year they were placed in a play-in game, which they lost to BYU before the real dance even began. They have a different path now.
“This year, it’s a lot more meaningful,” senior and Harlem native Lamont “Momo” Jones told reporters after the MAAC title win. “If you told me nine months ago that this was going to be the case, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.”
Jones leads the team with 23 points per game. He’ll be matched up with Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Craft in one of the best battles of the Round of 64.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.