#65 Iona Gaels: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The MAAC figures to be a two horse race between Iona and Fairfield this season.  The Gaels return their top four scorers and two All-MAAC First Team members who lead the team into the season.

IONA GAELS
Last Season: T-2nd, 13-5 MAAC, 25-12 overall
Predicted MAAC Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Mike Glover (Sr)/Josh Gomez (Fr)
F: Nyandigisi Moikubo (Jr)/Taaj Ridley (Jr)/Kristian Duravcevic (So)
SG: Kyle Smith (Jr)/Randy Dezouvre (Sr)
G: Jermel Jenkins (Sr)/Sean Armand (So)/Ra’Shad James (Jr)
PG: Scott Machado (Sr)/Trinity Fields (Sr)

Gone: SG-Rashon Dwight, F/C-Alejo Rodriguez, SF-Jayon James (transfer-Lamar State), C-Chris Pelcher (transfer-New Hampshire)

2011-2012 Outlook:
After transferring in from junior college, Mike Glover made a huge impact in his first season with Gaels.  He led the team in scoring and rebounding, finishing second in the MAAC in both of those categories.  Glover is the only returning member of the frontcourt that features four new faces after the graduation of Alejo Rodriguez and transfer of Chris Pelcher.

The backcourt has a lot of returning talent including point guard Scott Macahdo.  The 6-1 senior finished second in D-1 last season with 7.6 assists per game and will once again be the maestro of the offense.  Kyle Smith and Jermel Jenkins will give Iona a three-guard line-up.  Both players are dangerous outside shooters while Jenkins also makes his presence felt as a pesky on-the-ball defender.  Jenkins is more than capable of handling the point and will likely do so when Machado needs a breather.

The fifth starter spot is up for grabs.  If head coach Tim Cluess wants to go bigger, he could look at JUCO transfers Digs Moikubo or Taaj Ridley to start in the frontcourt alongside Glover.  Randy Dezourve and Sean Armand both saw limited action off the bench last season and could be options.  Dezourve offers a little more size while Armand is a three-point specialist and would ultimately give Iona a four-guard starting line-up.

momo jones ionaCluess also scored a major transfer in the off-season when Arizona starting point guard Lamont “MoMo” Jones decided to continue his college basketball career closer to home.  Jones will sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules, but should serve as a terrific practice opponent for Machado.

Led by Glover and Machado, Iona’s top four is very solid.  If they can find role players with the rest of their roster, the Gaels will be right there near the top of the MAAC standings and in line to dance for the first time since 2006.

Player to Watch: Mike Glover
The former Seton Hall commit arrived at Iona after hopping around different junior colleges for a couple of years.  Glover eliminated any concerns about his past with an incredible first season for the Gaels.  At 6-7, he makes up for his shortcomings with his combination of athleticism and physicality to go along with a terrific feel around the basket.  He is the favorite to win MAAC Player of the Year.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. Purdue (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/18 vs. Temple/Western Michigan (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/20 vs. Alabama/Maryland/Wichita State/Colorado (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/23 vs. St. Joseph’s
12/11 at Marshall
12/14 at Richmond
2/17-2/19 vs. TBA (ESPN Bracket Busters)

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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