NCAA Tournament Preview, BYU v Iona: Q&A with NYBuckets

Mar 4, 2012; Springfield, MA, USA; Iona Gaels forward Taaj Ridley (0) and forward Mike Glover (1) celebrate against the Fairfield Stags during the second half of the semifinal round of the 2012 Metro Atlantic Conference Tournament at the Mass Mutual Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

For more insight on BYU's opponent tonight, I connected with John Templon of Big Apple Buckets (@NYbuckets), a site that covers all the schools in and around New York City. We thank John for his time and encourage you to check out his sight. Here's what he had to say about tonight's matchup:

1. We know that Iona fills it up offensively, so tell me about Iona defensively. The Gaels give up a lot of points (for instance, gave up 85 against a Fairfield team that averages 65). Is this by design? Does Iona just bank on out-gunning opponents? What is Iona's usual defensive look?

Iona wants to outscore you. The Gaels look to run-and-gun and get easy baskets in transition. In general they're also a little undersized. Even though Iona has superior athletes compared to many MAAC teams they played zone almost exclusively during conference season.

There is no true defensive stopper on the Gaels either. Everyone in the starting five is better offensively than defensively. If a team is shooting well and hitting the offensive boards it can rack up points.

For most of MAAC play Iona looked bored. They had an incredibly high variance in conference play basically related to how hard they wanted to play on any given night. That shouldn't be a problem in the NCAA Tournament - at least I hope not - and should make the Gaels even tougher to beat.


Related: Charting the Success of Iona's Style of Play


2. Scott Machado averages 10 assists per game and has the attention of NBA scouts. Other than the fact that he racks up assists, how is his offensive game? I assume he gets a lot going with a drive-and-dish game. What else does he do well?

Machado has really improved his game during his senior season. He's a solid rebounder for his size and his shooting has improved as well this season. He shot 41.1% from three on almost 100 attempts. What makes him such a dangerous passer is that you can't sag off him and take away lanes because he can hit the shots to make you pay.

I thought NBA Draft Blog recently did a great job of breaking down Machado's game and I'd recommend checking it out.

3. Mike Glover looks to be the man down low for Iona, averaging 19 and 9 per game. Who is the third offensive cog outside Machado and Glover who needs to get going for Iona to be on its best game?

For Iona to play well it needs on of its shooters to be on his game along with Glover and Machado. That person though can be a number of different guys.

Kyle Smyth can fill that role. His job is mostly to space the floor with threes from either wing. The player who is the best at it though is Sean Armand. When Armand is going off Iona looks unbeatable. His 10 threes at MSG were incredible to watch. If he can get into a rhythm on Tuesday it'll be a long night for the Cougars.

4. Offensively, Noah Hartsock (6-8) and Brandon Davies (6-9) give BYU a strong post game. The two combine to average 32 points per game on 56% and 52% from the field, respectively. What does Iona have personnel- or scheme-wise to match up with BYU's post game?

To be honest, Iona is probably going to struggle against Hartsock and Davies. Glover needs to stay out of foul trouble for the Gaels to be effective and their presence could make it difficult. Nobody on Iona who plays regularly is taller than 6'7". The rest of Iona's front court includes Randy Dezouvre and Taaj Ridley. Both have had strong games this season, but in general to contribute they need to rebound and be solid defensively. Hartsock and Davies represent some of the toughest challenges Iona has faced since the end of non-conference play.

My guess is that Iona will attempt to deny the ball from getting into the post instead of trying to guard those two one-on-one. They'll also use full court pressure in an attempt to disrupt some of BYU's rhythm and make it harder for the guards to feed the ball into Hartsock and Davies.

Make sure to head to NYCBuckets.com for our answers to John's questions

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