Iona has been a consistent contender for the NCAA Tournament in recent years, and this season was no different. During the regular season, they posted a record of 19-13 and finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) standings.
In this article, we’ll take a look at Iona’s performance in the regular season and how it impacted their NCAA Tournament hopes.
Iona’s Overall Record
Iona’s men’s basketball team finished the 2020-2021 regular season with an overall record of 11-11. It began the season 7-5 through its first twelve games, but stumbled down the stretch, finishing 4-6 in the final ten games of its campaign. Despite its slow finish, Iona was still able to play important roles in an NCAA tournament bid. It finished at least fourth place by the end of the regular season, which all but secured a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Gaels played solid defense throughout they year and allowed significantly fewer points than other teams in their conference. They also boasted one of the most potent offenses in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), with averages that included 71.6 points per game (ppg) and 35.4 rebounds ppg throughout their 21 games.
Iona also had a few standout performances throughout the season, including junior forward EJ Crawford who recorded a double-double against Rider University on his way to becoming an All-MAAC Second Team selection and fellow junior Isaiah Washington being recognized as a MAAC First Team honoree for his showing against Quinnipiac on Feb 25th, when he registered 18 points and 16 assists to become just third player ever to post those kinds of numbers for Grambling’s men’s basketball program.
Iona’s Performance in The MAAC
Iona finished the regular season with a 22-11 overall record, going 15-5 in its conference, the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). The Gaels rose to first in the final MAAC standings with a 3.5 game lead over the second-place Siena Saints. Leading up to their tournament match on March 5, Iona had won nine of its last eleven regular season games–including five straight after a two-game skid where they only managed to keep each contest within ten points. The Gaels momentum began rolling with a road win at Rider on January 20, and was kept alive with home wins versus Marist and Monmouth as well as an important road success against Canisius ahead of their tournament run, setting them up for postseason play. The result of that late surge culminated with Iona securing the No. 1 seed at the MAAC Tournament as well as garnering 26 votes for one week in ESPN’s Mid Major Top 25 Poll—the highest position point total achieved by any team during the season—indicating expected success from this qualified team come NCAA Tournament time.
Iona’s Chances of Making The NCAA Tournament
The Iona Gaels have been one of the most successful teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in recent years, but will they make it to the NCAA Tournament? That is the question many Gaels’ fans are asking heading into the 2021 season. Let’s look at Iona’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament this year and explore their prospects for success.
Iona’s RPI And Strength of Schedule
Iona College has consistently been a powerhouse in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Therefore, one of the major factors that determines whether Iona earns an invitation to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is their Rating Percentage Index (RPI). The RPI is a number used by the NCAA Committee on Selection to compare teams from different conferences. It looks at three key criteria: winning percentage, your opponents’ winning percentage, and your opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. In Iona’s case, their RPI in the 2020-2021 season hovered around 70-75 throughout the pre-conference season and MAAC play. This means that they were likely on the bubble for an at-large bid before suffering a few heartbreaking losses towards the end of their conference schedule. Despite this, Iona posted a 27-7 record overall and was 15-5 in MAAC play, which hints at their quality.
The NCAA Selection Committee also looks at each team’s strength of schedule during its evaluation process. Due to Iona’s success in recent years, they have been able to compete against tougher competition while building up their strength of schedule. Over recent seasons Iona has played strong nonconference opponents such as Kentucky, North Carolina State and Notre Dame, helping them establish an impressive out-of-conference resume as well as solidifying a spot among some of college basketball’s power conferences moments ago.
At season’s end, Iona earned an impressive 68 ranking within KenPom’s adjusted efficiency rankings which was good for second best among mid majors because it incorporated some more advanced analytics into its final ranking. Thus it appears that although Iona ultimately fell just short of making it into March Madness based on their ranking beyond what many viewed as bubble teams; even without making it there this year sent out shockwaves throughout college hoops drawing attention to what head coach Rick Pitino has built over his early time with Iona since taking over midseason last year–a team who if given another opportunity will be deadly to face come tourney time down the line.
Did Iona Make The NCAA Tournament
Iona’s basketball team worked hard all season, but unfortunately, the record was not good enough to win the conference championship and secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. That left Iona with a chance at an at-large bid from the selection committee. Although this is possible, it is unlikely given the high quality of teams throughout college basketball in 2021. The first step for Iona was to have their metrical ranking in the top 30. As of April 1, 2021, Iona was ranked 42nd, which does not put them in position for consideration for an at-large bid on Selection Sunday. To make it into serious consideration, they must win their remaining games and probably get past the semifinals of their conference tournament and until then – hope that teams ahead of them lose key games as they try to secure their own spots in March Madness.
Other important factors that will affect Iona’s chances are strength of schedule or RPI rank (strength of opponents faced), number of wins against multiple universities receiving bids and head-to-head records against teams under consideration by the selection committee. Unfortunately, these numbers may not be enough when trying to earn a spot as an at-large candidate this year due to other highly competitive programs rising up all across college basketball. With traditional powerhouse schools such as Duke, Kansas and Kansas State having have strong seasons this year so far – Iona’s chances look relatively slim for competing in March Madness through an at-large bid despite having put together a solid 2021 campaign thus far.
Other Factors That Could Impact Iona’s Chances
With the NCAA basketball season in full swing, there is a lot of speculation about whether Iona will make it to the tournament. While their performance on the court will be a key factor in whether or not they make the tournament, there are a few other factors that could potentially impact their chances. This article will look into these other factors and how they could play a role in determining if Iona will make it to the NCAA tournament.
Impact of The MAAC Tournament
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament is a key factor in determining Iona’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament. The conference champion earns the conference’s automatic bid to the tournament and eliminates any need for Iona to secure a bid via an at-large selection. Iona has not won the MAAC tournament since 2005, which means that it must rely on at-large consideration. The format for the MAAC tournament is best four of seven, such that each qualifying seed starts with a home game before advancing to neutral sites in Albany and Atlantic City for the semifinals and championship games. It is important to take into account that seeds 4-7 must play an extra game to qualify for the championship game, making it difficult to predict which team may come out on top of what could be a long and difficult tournament. Additionally, teams are not limited to their seeding – as any four teams are capable of joining up in any seeding configuration as they fight their way toward a championship. One advantage that Iona has had in recent years is its depth of quality players on its bench; this depth strengthens its chances of winning close games against opponents with which it might have evenly matched talent levels but less experienced substitutes. This gives Iona more options throughout tough tournaments as well as more time to rest weary starters during decisive matchups – both key elements when determining how far a team can advance in March Madness competition.
Impact of Other Teams’ Performances
The performance of other teams throughout the nation could have a significant impact on Iona’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament. Every victory of an opponent could add to Iona’s strength in terms of their Rating Percentage Index (RPI). While that might sound counterintuitive, more wins for strong opponents signify that those opponents will be more likely to advance in the tournament and thus, lesser known teams like Iona will benefit from a competitive showing. Additionally, conference performance can impact Iona’s chances. A strong showing by another school within the MAAC conference could also draw potential votes away from Iona if they are seen as competing too closely throughout the season or potentially supplanting them as frontrunners within their conference standings.
Finally, major tournaments such as non-conference matchups can also boost or diminish a team’s chances at making it into this end-of-season tournament. By gaining victories over nationally ranked programs in tournaments such as these, Iona can potentially move up in ranking and make a case for possible entry into the NCAA Tournament despite not having won a championship title within their own conference.
Iona’s Chances of an At-Large Bid
The Iona Gaels have put together a program that has consistently competed for NCAA tournament spots over the last decade. This year, Iona is once again in contention for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. In this article, we will look at the Iona Gaels’ chances at an at-large bid and discuss their NCAA tournament prospects.
Iona’s Chances of Making The NCAA Tournament as an At-Large Team
The probability of Iona making the NCAA tournament as an at-large team is highly dependent upon the outcome of their games against other quality opponents. The committee takes into account the strength of schedule, conference record, and quality wins when determining at-large bids. If Iona can finish their regular season schedule with several impressive wins over notable opponents and a strong record against their conference competitors, then their chances of making the NCAA tournament will increase significantly.
When looking at Iona’s at-large bid prospects, it is important to note that teams must maintain a high RPI rating to be eligible for selection. The Rating Percentage Index (RPI) measures the strength of Iona’s schedule, which includes its record against teams from ranked conferences and non-conference foes such as Duke and Michigan State. Generally speaking, they need an RPI rating near or above 30 to guarantee an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, Iona needs to pick up some “quality” victories throughout the season if they are going to have any shot at making it on an at-large basis. Quality wins by Iona would include games against ranked opponents like Duke, Michigan State, Seton Hall and St Johns—teams who are consistently ranked in polls across the nation. Beating these elite basketball programs would demonstrate that Iona can compete with some of college basketball’s most talented teams and give them a fighting chance when Selection Sunday comes around in March 2021.
Iona’s Chances of Making The NCAA Tournament as an Automatic Qualifier
Iona is eligible to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament and earn an automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Tournament. As a result, Iona’s chances of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament are slim. Despite having one of the best teams in program history this season, Iona will need to win the MAAC Tournament and be crowned champion before having any hope of an at-large bid.
With numerous teams in power leagues across the nation vying for at-large bids, including perennial powerhouses Duke, Villanova and Kansas, Iona’s chances are low at this point. The Gaels have had success in recent years with multiple NCAA Tournament appearances in their history but still have not made it past the first round. With that said, if Iona has a deep run in the MAAC Tournament, they could make a good case for a potential at-large bid as well.
The reality is that Iona’s fate lies with winning the MAAC tournament and being declared champions of their conference; otherwise they will not be considered for an at-large bid come March Madness time. If they accomplish this feat though, all bets may be off in terms of getting selected for a spot in one of college basketball’s biggest events of the year.