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BYU's dancing in Dayton

BYU's dancing in Dayton



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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There was a lot of waiting and probably some stressful moments for BYU this week, but it was all smiles after Sunday's announcement that the Cougars would once again be in the NCAA Tournament. BYU will face Iona on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm MT in Dayton in a First Round matchup in the "First Four." The winner of Tuesday's game will take on Marquette as a 14 seed in Louisville.

BYU senior forward Noah Hartsock said he's not disappointed in playing in the "play-in" game.

"We didn't necessarily play well in our last game, and I'm sure the committee saw that and everything, but I think we deserve to be in the Tournament and I'm really glad with the spot we have right now".

It appears that while things looked good for BYU to avoid a game in Dayton as the week progressed, some of the results on Saturday and Sunday ultimately pushed the Cougars into a first round matchup. BYU ended up being the 2nd to last team in the tournament with Iona being the last.

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The Gaels come into Tuesday's game with a record of 25-7 out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

"When they announced us, it was beyond words, we're just excited for our school", Iona head coach Tim Cluess said.

Iona ranks #1 in scoring and assists among all D-1 schools. They are led by point guard Scott Machado who leads the nation in assists per game.

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Playing on Tuesday does provide some interesting hurdles to overcome. First and foremost is the fact that BYU will play a little more than 48 hours after finding out who they're playing. Brandon Davies doesn't seem to mind.

"I kinda like the quick turnaround. We've had a week to just sit around and wait for this opportunity and now we have it and I'm excited and can't wait to get out there."

This time last year, BYU was preparing to face Wofford as the 3 seed. BYU head coach Dave Rose last year and this year feel the same right now, but with a twist.

"You get to this point and everything feels exactly the same except it's gonna be sped up a bit. Instead of playing a Thursday game , we play a Tuesday game, and if we win, we get to keep playing. If we don't win we've got to come home".

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One positive for BYU is the team appears to be as healthy as they've been in weeks. Having the week off after the WCC Tournamant has allowed guys like Noah Hartsock and Stephen Rogers to heal up. Hartsock said he feels great.

"In practice, I've been able to go the whole time and it's (knee) feeling a lot better. I was actually able to do a turnaround jumper for the first time without any pain, so it's feeling better and I'm excited for another chance to play".

Having a healthy Noah Hartsock along with Brandon Davies should be a huge advantage for BYU on Tuesday. The tallest Iona player to get regular minutes is 6'7".

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Tuesday's game can be heard on KSL Newsradio, 102.7 FM and 1160 AM. Pregame will start at 6:00 pm MT with tip-off set for 7:00 pm MT. The television broadcast will be on TruTV.

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Jason Shepherd

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