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Iowa State Draws Iona in 1st Round of NCAA Tournament

It'll be the 4-seed Cyclones against the 13-seed Gaels on Thursday in Denver for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The road to redemption starts in Denver on Thursday.

That's where the 2015-16 Iowa State Cyclones, who finished the season at 21-11 overall, will head to square off against their first round opponent in the NCAA Tournament - the Iona Gaels (22-10).

Iowa State was selected as the 4-seed in the Midwest region, which features Virginia as the 1-seed. If the Cyclones can get past Iona in the first round, they'll square off on Saturday against the winner of 5-seed Purdue and 12-seed Little Rock. Assuming Virginia wins their first two games of the tournament, that'd be who ISU would take on in the Sweet Sixteen.

The full bracket of the NCAA Tournament was leaked early on Twitter. It turned out to be legit, and you can check it out below:

Quickly Scouting Iona

The Gaels finished 2nd in the MAAC regular season and won the conference's tournament over Monmouth, 79-76. Iona didn't play a single ranked team all year.

According to, the Gaels are the 73rd best team in the nation. They feature an offensive efficiency of 110.4 (60th in the nation) and a defensive efficiency of 101.2 (120th). Overall, Iona likes to push the tempo, coming in with the 44th quickest adjusted tempo in the country.

The best player on Iona's roster is 6-foot-4 guard A.J. English, who averages 22.4 points per game, 6.2 assists per game and 5.0 rebounds per game. He averages nearly 36 minutes per outing and has attempted 420 shots all year (for reference, ISU's leading shot taker, Georges Niang, has taken 457). After English, the Gaels have three other players averaging double digit PPG.

Something to keep an eye on is Iona's depth. Looking at their stats, they have nine players who average double digit minutes per game that have played at least 23 games this year. That might be concerning for people who look at ISU's lack of depth in the tournament, though the Cyclones will have plenty of rest after bowing out of the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday last week.

Stay tuned to WRNL for more in-depth analysis of Iowa State's region and potential opponents.