Iona College will play the University of Alabama at Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse in the first round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 20, on TBS.
Alabama (24-6 overall) is the second seed in the East Region, and received an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by beating Louisiana State University, 80-79, in the Southeastern Conference title game March 14.
The Iona Gaels (12-5) are the 15th seed and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by defeating Fairfield, 60-51, for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament championship in Atlantic City, N.J., March 13. The Gaels won the tournament for a league-leading 13th time.
Asante Gist scored 18 points, and Isaiah Ross added 13 points for the Gaels.
“We’re all excited. It was a great tournament,” said Iona coach Rick Pitino.
Iona was the ninth seed in the MAAC tournament. The MAAC determined its tournament seedings for the 2020-2021 season based on the number of wins and not winning percentage.
Pitino became the third coach in tournament history to qualify for the tournament as head coach of five different programs—Iona, Kentucky, Providence, Louisville and Boston University.
After its MAAC championship, Iona traveled directly to Indiana, where all of the NCAA tournament games will be played.