Every year, in practically every conference, you’ll hear the phrase “wide open” in reference to the league tournament. Coaches say it out of respect to other teams; the media uses it as a hedge against their predictions; P.R. folks spit it out to generate hype. So bear with me when I tell you that this weekend’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament is wide open.
But if it’s not true this season in this conference, it never will be. “The charm of our team is that we know we can lose to any team,” Joe Mihalich said during Monday’s conference call with the media. Mihalich is the coach of Niagara, the league’s No. 1 seed. Held at the MassMutualCenter, a neutral site in Springfield, Mass., nearly every team has a reasonable shot at the title.
Continue reading 2013 MAAC Basketball Tournament Preview
Stanley Hill looked around the Hynes Athletics Center and smiled. On the visitor’s bench was Fairfield University’s men’s basketball coach Sydney Johnson. At the scorer’s table was Iona College athletics director Eugene Marshall, Jr. Both men are black. The Iona and Fairfield rosters, like so many others, are filled with black student-athletes. Hill, more so than most, notices. A lot has changed since he played college basketball.
Hill, a 1959 Iona graduate, was in New Rochelle last Friday night to accept the inaugural Trailblazer Award, named after him. At halftime of the Feb. 24 Iona-Fairfield game, he spoke about The Game That Never Was and why Iona was a special place.
Continue reading Stanley Hill: College Basketball Trailblazer
Springfield, MA—Iona led Fairfield by six midway through the second half of Sunday’s MAAC Tournament semifinal when the Gaels’ Scott Machado attempted a three-pointer. Iona had just forced a turnover and Machado was open on the wing. He missed, just barely, and Fairfield’s three-pointer on the ensuing possession started a 16-1 run that propelled the Stags to an 85-75 victory. A basketball game—and a chance at the NCAA Tournament—can change that quickly.
By losing in its conference tournament and therefore failing to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, this is Iona’s predicament. But it’s also Drexel’s. It’s Middle Tennessee’s. It could be Long Beach State’s. If college football is split between the Haves and Have-Nots, college basketball gives us the Haves and the Have They Done Enough?
Continue reading Will Iona Get an NCAA Tournament Bid?