Iona and East Tennessee St Play in CIT Semifinals

College Insider Tournament Semifinals
Iona Gaels at East Tennessee St Buccaneers
Memorial Center, Johnson City, Tennessee
Saturday, March 25, 2011, 2:00 pm Eastern, No TV, Internet only
Opening Line: Iona -1 1/2
Current Line: Iona -2 1/2
Opening Total: 143
Current Total: 146
Money Line: Iona -135 / ETSU +115

Big South Tournament
East Tennessee St hosts Iona in the CIT semifinals. Iona is a 2 1/2 point favorite on the road.

Iona and East Tennessee St play in the CIT semifinals Saturday afternoon. The winner will take on Santa Clara in the Championship game Wednesday night. Both Iona and ETSU are 24-11 on the season. Iona was second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 13-5 record. The Gaels have gone 11-1 in their last 12 games, with the only loss coming against St. Peter’s 62-57 in the MAAC Championship game. In the CIT, Iona won at Valparaiso 62-57, got a second round bye and then beat Buffalo at home 78-63 in the quarterfinals. East Tennessee St finished second in the Atlantic Sun conference with a 16-4 record. They have gone 20-4 in their last 24 games. They were upset by North Florida in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun tournament. In the CIT, The Bucs beat Furman 76-63 in the first round, got a bye into the quarterfinals, and beat Ohio 82-73 in the quarters. It is the first time in school history that ETSU has won more than one post-season game in one season.

Iona and ETSU have only played once in history. ETSU won that game 92-88 in 1988 at a tournament in Syracuse. This season the Buccaneers have wins over Mississippi St and Dayton and losses to Kentucky, Murray St, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, and Belmont twice. All of those teams except for Mississippi St made the NCAA or NIT Tournaments. Iona has wins over Richmond, Long Island, Hofstra, St. Peter’s twice, Rider twice, and Fairfield. All played in postseason tournaments. They have losses to Kent St, Cleveland St, Syracuse, Vermont, Rider and Fairfield. Iona is 10-6 on the road this season and ETSU is 13-1 at home, with the only loss coming to A-Sun Champ Belmont.

Iona guard Kyle Smith is doubtful for the game against ETSU with a shoulder injury. He is the teams third leading scorer with 10.1 points a game. Forward Michael Glover averages 17.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks a game to lead the team in all three categories. Guard Scott Machado averages 13.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. He leads the team in assists. Guard Jermell Jenkins averages 9.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.3 steals a game. Rashon Dwight averages 8.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and leads the team in steals with 1.4 a game. Iona is outscoring teams 79-69 on the season. The Gaels are shooting 47.7% from the field and 37.5% from 3-point range. Iona opponents are shooting 44.2% from the field. Iona makes 65.6% from the  free throw line. The Gaels average 36.3 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +2.7. Iona averages 17.4 assists and 12.8 turnovers a game. They force 15 turnovers a game on defense. The Gaels average 7.6 steals and 3.2 blocks a game.

ETSU has no significant injuries right now. The Buccaneers are led by guard Mike Smith. He is averaging 17.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists. He is the team’s leading scorer. Guard Micah Williams averages 13.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1 steal a game. Forward Isiah Brown averages 10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 2 blocks a game. He leads the team in blocks and rebounds. Justin Tubbs averages 10.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.1 steals a game. Adam Sollazzo averages 8.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.3 steals a game. He leads the team in assists and steals. ETSU is outscoring opponents 70-64 this season. The Buccs are shooting 45.4% from the field and 34.4% from 3-point range. ETSU opponents are shooting 40.1% from the field. The Buccaneers make 67.6% of their free throws. ETSU averages 36 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +2.2. They average 10.8 assists and 13.4 turnovers a game. ETSU forces 13.9 turnovers a game on defense. The Buccaneers average 6.7 steals and 3.9 blocks a game.

ETSU is better defensively but Iona scores more points. Whichever team controls the tempo will have a great shot at winning the game. Iona wants to play this game in the 70’s and ETSU would rather play it in the 60’s.  Both teams rebound about the same average. I think it will be close and either team could win.

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