Iona confident it can beat slightly favored BYU tonight in NCAA First Four game
Tons of links to stories today to get you ready for tonight's BYU-Iona game in the NCAA Tournament First Four, plus a BYU football spring camp update and a BYU women's basketball update. Here we go: * Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe describes how playing in tonight's First Four game works in BYU's favor. * The Iona Gaels come across as a confident bunch, and their coach and players are suggesting that they could be this year's Virginia Commonwealth. * My preview of tonight's game says that its going to be a track meet, whether the Cougars want one or not. * The First Fan, President Barack Obama, will attend tonight's First Four game pitting Western Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State. As of 1 p.m. ET today, it is not clear if Obama will stay for the second game. * The BYU women's basketball team earned a No. 10 seed and will play Depaul on Saturday at Allstate Arena in Chicago. * Finally, the Tribune's Martin Renzhofer filled in for me at BYU's football practice on Monday and filed this report on the situation at receiver. Mentioned earlier that Iona's players are bold and confident about tonight's matchup. Here's a sampling of comments from their press conference Monday: Guard MoMo Jones on having played BYU twice as an Arizona Wildcat: "It's a totally different team. Obviously they had Jimmer Fredette my first two years playing them. So that was a tough outing. We lost to them twice. But it's a different team that they have now. I think we can hang with them. I haven't really watched them much this year. We just have to play Iona basketball and not really worry about what BYU brings or what happened two years ago." Iona's tallest player, 6-7 Mike Glover, on what the Gaels have to do to handle BYU's size advantage: "Our job is to pretty much get dirty down there in the paint and every time the shots go up, basically rebound." MoMo Jones on BYU's tempo: "BYU playing a fast-paced game and, again, I've played against them twice I don't think they play nearly as fast as we do. I think we still have a speed advantage on them." Iona's Scott Machado on being referred to as the best point guard in America that people have never seen: "I think they're right." Iona's Mike Glover, who played a year at Utah State-Eastern (formerly known as College of Eastern Utah) in Price: "It was, I think, about an hour away from Provo. Never had the opportunity to go out there and visit. We were always on the road. Playing against a Utah team, it feels like junior college all over again."Iona coach Tim Cluess on learning about BYU: "It's getting there. I know they're a heck of a basketball team. I did watch them last year a lot as well. MoMo had built some confidence into me until a few minutes ago, because he told me he was going to be a much better defender against BYU than he was in the past, and I just found out he guarded Jimmer Fredette, so I don't know. Giving him 40 and 50, I'm hoping he does a little better job this time. No, they're a great program. I was fortunate enough to be on a team that played them when Danny Ainge played way back when. So for me, it is a little historical playing them again."