Iona senior striker Dylan Van Eyck came from Boskoop, Netherlands, for this opportunity for the moment.
« That’s what I came to America for, » said Van Eyck on a Zoom call. “I wanted to take part in the NCAA March Madness tournament.”
Iona, a 15-seed, miraculously climbed a treacherous COVID-19 obstacle to win the MAAC Conference championship and run against Alabama on Saturday to move up two seeds to a game in the East Region.
« I just want everyone to be confident that we are a confident group, that we are confident and that we have nothing to lose. So go out there and play like we played and really focus like we did defensive end because if we do we can beat anyone, ”said Gist. « It will be a difficult task and Coach always tells us, » You are not given anything, you have to take everything. «
Rick Pitino is happy that he doesn’t have to play against Alabama until Saturday, as his team needs training after a season full of breaks and breaks.
» They are a unique team, « said Pitino. » About 40 percent of their shots go to the basket for layups, 40 percent are 3s, 18 percent of the time they’re fouled, and about 2 percent of the time they’re mid-range shots, roughly, « Pitino said.
The Tide is coached by Nate Oats, who was a Bobby Hurley adjutant at Buffalo who won the SEC conference tournament championship against LSU on Sunday.
« They are a high percentage, high performing attacking basketball team ( 79.6 ppg) who is very athletic and trains very well, « said Pitino. » It’s a tough game, but you expect a tough game when you have two seeds. I was on the other side. … It’s a bit of a time reversal, but you still have to play the game. «
Someone wondered if the fact that Pitino’s Providence team with Billy Donovan beat Alabama on their way to the Final Four in 1987 could be an omen. » I didn’t think of that, thanks, that’s great » « Pitino said, smiling. » By the way, we beat a great Alabama team … I hope that’s true. «
Gist, who is from East Orange, New Jersey, who works for Bob Hurley Sr. on the St. Anthony High School will duel Jahvon Quinerly, junior high school student at Jersey Catholic High School, and Hackensack.
« For New Jersey state, it’s just great that we can take part in the tournament and play against each other « said Gist.
Here they stand proud. « COVID shutdowns, everything that went wrong went wrong I would say, » Isaiah Ross said. « I think we all decided as a team to empty the tank and give it all we had. This is the last chance we have. »
« Even if we have a problem, we will play anyway, « said Pitino. “We have 10 players who can play. If for some reason, for whatever reason, Alabama couldn’t play, we’d be playing Louisville. «
Here Pitino won a national title that was vacated by the NCAA after a pay-for-play scandal. » We’re going to play with walk-ons and we’ll have 10 guys ready, « said Pitino, » so we won’t get a replacement. « We’ll play the game. »
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