NCAA Tournament Predictions: First Four West Region: 14. Iona vs. 14. BYU, winner vs. Marquette

By: Kels Dayton

 14 Iona Gaels (25-7, 15-3 MAAC)- Iona received a surprise NCAA Tournament at-large bid out of the MAAC after an upset loss to Fairfield in the conference tournament semifinals. The Gaels

Guard Scott Machado is the nation's assists leader. (Richard Mackson/US Presswire)

have three players who will garner NBA Draft consideration. Senior point guard Scott Machado leads the nation in assists with 10.1 per game, and could be a lottery pick. Guard LaMont ‘Mo Mo’ Jones is an Arizona transfer who helped the ‘Cats destroy Duke in the Sweet 16 last season, and forward Mike Glover leads the Gaels in scoring (18.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.3 rpg).

Iona is the nation’s highest-scoring team, and ranks 2nd in field goal percentage.

If there’s a team out there that can make a VCU-type run to the Final Four, it’s Iona.


1st Points per game (83.3)

1st Assists per game (19.3)

2nd Field Goal Percentage (.504)


 14 Brigham Young (25-8, 12-4 West Coast)-BYU made the NCAA field by the skin of its teeth in its first season in the West Coast Conference. There’s no more Jimmer-mania in Provo, but forward Noah Hartsock (Hartsock-mania?)  carried the team back to the Big Dance by averaging 16.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

Noah Hartsock (AP Photo/Paul Chuoy)

Forward Brandon Davies, who missed the NCAA Tournament last season due to suspension, is another key cog for the Cougars. He averaged 15 points and 7.5 rebounds in a stellar senior season.

This could be one of the most entertaining games of the tournament, as both Iona and BYU love to get up and down the floor. BYU was 13th in the nation in points per game this season, and 6th in assists. The Cougars’ big advantage could be inside, where they finished 21st in the country in rebounding.


13th Points per game (78.0)

21st Rebounds per game (35.8)

6th Assists per game (13.0)


Team stats courtesy of


WINNER vs.  3 Marquette (25-7, 14-4 Big East)- The Golden Eagles enjoyed their best season in the school’s Big East history, going 14-4 and earning a No. 2 seed in the conference tournament in New York City. Marquette has improved steadily under head man Buzz Williams, who has been one of the nation’s more underrated coaches.

Guard Darius Johnson-Odom (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The Golden Eagles are led by two statsheet-stuffers, to borrow a phrase from Clark Kellogg, in guard Darius Johnson-Odom (18.5 points per game), and big man Jae Crowder (17.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.1 apg).

The committee did Marquette absolutely no favors in giving them a No. 3 seed in the West region. The Golden Eagles got a tough first-round draw in two at-large teams in Iona and BYU, and will have a difficult second-round matchup with either. If they survive their first test, they’ll likely face 30-1 Murray State in round 2. If they advance to the Sweet 16, they’ll have earned it.


31st Points per game

7th Assists per game

73rd Field Goal Percentage


Team stats courtesy of


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