NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Four schools will be looking to play Cinderella at the NCAA tournament.
Thanks to the unfortunate leak of the matchups some of the excitement from the actual announcement was tempered on Sunday night, but there was nothing but joy on Tuesday as Iona hit the friendly skies and headed west for their date with destiny.
As CBS2’s Otis Livingston reported, the journey to the tourney began as the Gaels loaded up the buses on Tuesday afternoon. They’ll play Thursday at 2 p.m. against 4th seeded Iowa state. Iona is the 13 seed, so they are underdogs on paper, but that isn’t how they’re looking at it.
“I say a basketball game is a basketball game, teams make runs. Anything can happen, it’s March,” Iona Guard, Deyshonne Much said.
It isn’t unfamiliar territory for Head Coach Tim Cluess. He’s back in the big dance for the third time in 5 years.
“I think I just wanna keep my guys relaxed and let them enjoy it, and not be consumed by the moment,” he said.
Iona has a small campus in Westchester County, with an enrollment under 4,000. Support for the team doesn’t end with the student body. They have the entire city of New Rochelle behind them, rooting for a Gaels win on St. Patrick’s Day.
“Good upset for them. St. Paddy’s Day, the Gaels in the NCAA at 2 o’clock it’ll be a great day,” deli owner Mike Napoitano said.
The men aren’t the only ones from New Rochelle headed to the NCAA tournament. The 15 seed Lady Gaels will face number 2 seed Maryland in College park on Saturday.