Iona and LIU Brooklyn are in this year's NCAA tournament. And they're both headed to Dayton, Ohio:
IONA: The Gaels (20-13, 11-7), the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament champions, received a No. 15 seed in the West region. Iona will play No. 2 seed Ohio State (26-7, 13-5) on Friday. The Buckeyes finished tied for second in the Big Ten during the regular season and defeated Wisconsin to win the Big Ten tournament on Sunday.
Iona was projected to be a No. 14 seed in the final pre-tournament edition of Bracketology, so the Gaels were hoping for a higher seed. Ohio State has won eight games in a row and will be playing close to home. But the Gaels are familiar with Dayton, too -- they played there last year, in one of the tournament's four play-in games.
Iona blew a 25-point lead in that game, losing to BYU, in what was the biggest comeback in NCAA tournament history. The Gaels should be highly motivated to have a better showing this time.
LIU BROOKLYN: The Blackbirds (20-13, 12-6), the Northeast Conference tournament champions, are also going to Dayton, but they'll have to play two days earlier. LIU Brooklyn was viewed as one of the four weakest automatic-bid teams in the field of 68 by the selection committee. So LIU will take on James Madison, with the winner entering the main bracket of 64 teams as a No. 16 seed and playing No. 1 seed Indiana on Friday.
On the bright side, this is a great opportunity for LIU Brooklyn to get even more national exposure. The Blackbirds will play in front of the entire country Wednesday night as part of the second play-in doubleheader.
James Madison (20-14, 11-7) finished in fourth place in the Colonial Athletic Association in the regular season but won the conference tournament, upsetting top seed Northeastern in the championship game, 70-57.