It was a banner day for New York City’s mid-majors last night as they rung in the New Year with style. All five schools in action pulled out victories. It was an impressive display of how far some of these young teams have developed.
The final Mid-Major Top 25 poll from CollegeInsider.com is out and there appears to be one team missing. Despite reaching the finals of the CIT, Iona isn’t in the Top 25. (They’re actually 26th, four points behind Wofford.)
Santa Clara, the team that won the CIT on the Gaels’ home court, is ranked 22nd. Butler was an obvious choice for the #1 spot in the poll and VCU, after the Rams’ Final Four run, deserved to be #2, but beyond that it probably was pretty difficult for the selectors to rank the teams. Wichita State, which won the NIT, got boosted all the way up to #5, but St. Mary’s, which lost in the first round of the NIT to Kent State, only fell to #11.
This seems to be a case of poll momentum keeping teams from cracking the list. Congratulations to Long Island. The Blackbirds finished 17th in the poll. Also, Hofstra was in the others receiving votes category, but the CAA showed it’s strength with three teams in the Top 5. The three CAA teams in the poll also tied the West Coast Conference (which along with Santa Clara and St. Mary’s had #7 Gonzaga) for the most teams in the poll.
Iona lost tonight to Santa Clara and if you saw the Broncos celebrating on the court afterwards you know that this title meant something to them. Both teams played hard, but it was the battle-tested Santa Clara squad that pulled out the 76-69 victory to take the title. The margin might seem small, but this was a pretty convincing victory as Santa Clara was able to go inside and dominate the paint.
It wasn’t that the Broncos shot better, because they didn’t. It was they got more shots up. Santa Clara had 18 offensive rebounds on 39 missed shots, which works out to an offensive rebounding percentage of 43.6%. Iona came into the game allowing teams to grab 29.5% of their misses, while Santa Clara came in pulling down 35.8% of their misses. Neither of those percentages suggested this would happen.
But it did and the Broncos, even after committing six more turnovers, ended up with three extra shots – approximately the difference in the game. Take a look at the Four Factors below.
Iona defeated East Tennessee State 83-80 this afternoon on the road to advance to the CIT Championship game. The Gaels will now play Santa Clara in New Rochelle on Wednesday night for the tournament title. Iona was carried by Mike Glover. He scored 33 points and grabbed 10 boards. Glover also shot 13-19 from the field.
Glover’s shooting was reminiscent of the entire Iona squad, which managed to shoot 52.9% from the field in the game. The Gaels had a 60.2% effective field goal percentage. That’s even better than the 54.5% the Gaels came in averaging on the season. Considering that it was on the road that’s even more impressive. Sean Armand scored 20 points for Iona on 6-11 three-point shooting.