NCAA Tournament: Iona draws Ohio State

Iona basketball senior guard Lamont

Iona basketball senior guard Lamont "Momo" Jones, with 10-month-old son Jace, reacts to the unveiling of the brackets on the NCAA's "Selection Sunday" show. Iona was paired against No. 2 seed Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament's West Region. (March 17, 2013) Photo Credit: Faye Murman

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March Madness descended on the New Rochelle campus of Iona College on Sunday as the Gaels were paired against No. 2 seed Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament's West Region.

Before the announcement, Iona's basketball players and hundreds of their supporters gathered at Hynes Athletic Center to watch jumbo TV screens for the unveiling of the brackets on the NCAA's "Selection Sunday" show.

The gymnasium, festooned with balloons, crackled with excitement as the dance team and cheerleading squad performed.

As he waited, senior guard Lamont "Momo" Jones said he was flooded with emotions.

"I'm happy, excited, nervous. All of the above," he said. "At the end of the day, it's just a great feeling."

Still, he said the uncertainty was maddening.

"When are they going to call our names? I'm just anxious. Anxious," he said.

Meanwhile, the manager of Iona's bookstore said he hoped March Madness would translate into a sales rush.

"Hopefully, if all goes well, people will be excited about Iona making it to the big dance. So let's hope they buy some shirts," said the manager, Richard Tonns.

No. 15 seed Iona earned a coveted spot in the tournament by beating Manhattan 60-57 last week to win the MAAC Tournament championship, but it will face a big challenge in Big Ten power Ohio State.

Only six No. 15 seeds have beaten No. 2 seeds in tournament history.

Louisville was tapped as the overall No. 1 seed when the tournament brackets were announced Sunday night. Other No. 1 teams were Gonzaga, Kansas and Indiana.

The Ohio State Buckeyes ranked No. 10 nationally and beat Wisconsin 50-43 Sunday to take the Big Ten Tournament title.

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