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Introducing Cinderella: Meet the Iona Gaels

Niagara v Iona

Iona guard A.J. English (Getty Images)

Getty Images

Conference: MAAC

Coach: Tim Cluess

Record: 22-10

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 71
RPI: 86
AP/USA Today: Not ranked

Seeding: Iona finished the season on a tear, but some early season stumbles means the Gaels are probably destined for a 13 or 14.

Names you need to know: A.J. English is by far the Gaels’ top player, averaging 22.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.5 steals in 35.7 minutes per game. Jordan Washington, Deyshonee Much and Isaiah Williams all average around 13 points.

Stats you need to know: The Gaels ranked 35th nationally in effective field goal percentage courtesy of 37.2 percent from beyond the arc and 52.3 percent within it. They also share the ball extremely well, assisting on 60.7 percent of their field goals.

Big wins, bad losses: The Gaels have just two wins against KenPom’s top-100, and both came against Monmouth. Losses to Rider and Fairfield are the black marks on their resume.

How’d they get here?: Blasted Canisius by 18 in the MAAC opener, followed by an 11-point win over Siena and a three-point triumph against Monmouth.

Outlook: A.J. English marks a lot of boxes as a potential March hero as a high-scoring senior who can do more than just fill it up. The Gaels, though, will need to try to tighten things up defensively to try to knock off a bigger program. That or just make a ton of shots, which they are capable of doing.

How do I know you?: English’s father played in the NBA for two years, which was enough time to see Michael Jordan go for 51 against his Bullets in 1992.