The Iona Gaels are one of eight teams still playing basketball and tonight their season will either end in a championship or defeat. Iona is being given strong odds to pull out the CollegeInsider.com Tournament championship and, considering Santa Clara had to fly across the country to play in the game, even that might be too low. Ken Pomeroy gives the Gaels an 85% chance of winning tonight’s game. Accuscore is a little more conservative, but still has it as almost a 3:1 chances and Vegas has Iona -9.5.
I guess this probably means that the pressure is also on Iona to take home the win, but the fact is the Gaels are just a better team anyways. One of the best offenses in the country gets to show the country – on Fox Sports Network – what it can do tonight. In fact, a run like VCU’s to the Final Four might make Gaels fans think, “Why couldn’t that have been us?”
Even after VCU’s tournament run the Rams are still ranked below Iona in offense and slightly above the Gaels in defense. They’re separated by just 10 spots in the Pomeroy rankings. If Iona had gotten hot during the NCAA Tournament it’s entirely possible that they could’ve been the Cinderella story that continued all the way on to Houston.
Iona plays faster and rebounds better than VCU. Surely their style would’ve bothered any opponent. (And they probably would’ve gotten a better first round draw than St. Peter’s did against Purdue as well.) Instead they ended up playing in the CIT and making the most of their opportunity. Now’s the time to cash in.