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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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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.

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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.

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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."



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