The Iona Gaels road a strong second half to defeat the East Tennessee State Buccaneers 83-80 and advance to the 2011 CIT Championship Game. ETSU led Iona by six at halftime, but Iona handled their business in the second half to score the second road victory of the semifinals. Yesterday, the Santa Clara Broncos went on the road to defeat the Southern Methodist Mustangs. Iona will host Santa Clara next Wednesday at 5:00pm pacific for the third CIT championship.
We don’t have early odds posted yet as the Iona game only recently ended. As Iona will be hosting the championship game, I’d imagine the Gaels will be the early favorite. A look at Ken Pomeroy’s ratings shows a further disparity between the two teams. 25-11 Iona is rated 61st, while Santa Clara is 118th. If I had to guess, I’d estimate Iona will open as a 6 1/2-point favorite.
The CIT is in its third year, with Missouri State winning last year and Old Dominion winning in 2009. Old Dominion has since won the CAA tournament two straight seasons to get into the NCAA tournament. Missouri State earned a berth in this year’s NIT.