|The Gaels are good enough to win in the NCAAs, but they shouldn't have been in over Drexel and Seton Hall.(AP)|
I'm happy for Scott Machado and Tim Cluess, but Iona didn't deserve a bid.
The Gaels best win this season came on their home floor in New Rochelle against a Nevada team that's headed to the NIT. Oh, and the Gaels did beat Vermont.
Iona has Machado, one of the elite point guards in the country. Cluess and the Gaels also have Arizona transfer Momo Jones -- and a talented, yet undersized big man in Michael Glover.
I've seen this team play. They are dangerous, but should be headed to the NIT.
Iona didn't get a resume win down in San Juan back in November after losing the opener of the tourney to Purdue.
But the Gaels couldn't beat Marshall in Morgantown, then lost three games in the MAAC. They dropped one against a Siena team that's 14-17 overall and 8-10 in the MAAC, lost to Manhattan on its home floor -- and also came up short against Loyola (Md.), which won the conference tourney.
Oh, yeah. I almost forgot about another setback. It was against a Hofstra team that was, at one time, fighting Towson for the cellar in the CAA. The Pride finished 10-22 overall and 3-15 in the CAA -- the same league that Drexel ran through for a regular-season title.
Iona had a chance to win its league tourney, though. That's what the Gaels needed to do in order to go dancing, right?
Cluess' team got past No. 8 seed Marist in its first game, but then couldn't even get to the championship contest in Springfield. Fairfield knocked the Gaels out in the semis.
NCAA committee chairman Jeff Hathaway praised Iona for its non-conference strength of schedule and said that the Gaels weren't the final at-large team that got into the field. Iona did beat some decent teams -- Saint Joseph's, Maryland, Denver, Richmond and Long Island -- in the non-conference slate.
Last I checked Long Island was the lone team that Iona knocked off that's also dancing.
That's just not enough.