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NCAA Tournament 2012 BracketBusters: Iona, UAlbany, St. Bonaventure

The Big East Conference is not the only league in the nation that holds possible NCAA Tournament prospects. SB Nation New York looks at the New York-New Jersey BracketBusters for 2012.

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Around these parts the Big East Conference men's college hoops programs get all the attention, and though I am somewhat responsible for the lack of coverage for the little guys I am willing to change my ways.

Now, the coverage might not be as frequent as the big guys, but we here at SB Nation New York would like to keep our college hoops fans updated on the March Madness status of the Division I programs in the New York-New Jersey areas that aren't a part of the Big East. So, without further delay here's the first edition of the 2012 SBN NY's Bracketology BracketBusters -- say that 10 times fast.

(NCAA Tournament dates for the first and second round will be March 13-18. The dates for the NCAA Final Four will March 31 and April 2 with the location being New Orleans, LA. )

Iona Gaels --11-3 Overall; Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference 3-0

Currently, Iona is the best sleeper pick of any of the SBN NY BracketBusters. The Gaels entered their season as the MAAC's media favorite and their only a slip up so far has been a loss, 83-75, at the Hofstra Pride, Dec. 29. During their non-conference schedule the Gaels defeated the Maryland Terrapins, 89-63, and St. Joseph's Hawks, 104-99 (2OT).

On Tuesday, Iona routed the Siena Saints, 95-59, at Madison Square Garden making them already 3-0 in its conference.

As of Monday, senior forward Michael Glover was pacing the Gaels in scoring (18.8 points per game) and rebounds (8.8 per game).

Bracketology status:

SB Nation's Blogging The Bracket: N/A
ESPN's Joe Lunardi (Jan. 3): "On The Bubble"'s Andy Glockner (Dec. 27): No. 10 vs. No. 10 Southern Miss.'s Jerry Palm (Dec. 7): No. 13 vs. No. 4 Georgetown Hoyas

Albany, N.Y. Great Danes -- 9-6 Overall; 1-0 America East Conference

The Great Danes were not the media's preseason favorite to win the America East, but that's probably because nobody knew how good transfer, guard Gerardo Suero, was going to be.

As of Wednesday, Suero was the team's leading scorer and ranked fourth in the nation in points per game (22.1). Suero has already earned the America East Player Of The Week honors three times this season. Pair him with junior guards, co-captain Logan Aronhalt (15.1 ppg), who earned All-America East Third Team honors last year, and Mike Black (12.1 ppg, 4.6 assists per game), and the Great Danes could easily have the best backcourt duo in the league.

And, as we all know, if you have solid guard play then you can complete for a NCAA Tournament berth.

Bracketology status:

SB Nation's Blogging The Bracket: N/A
ESPN's Joe Lunardi (Jan. 3): OUT's Andy Glockner (Dec. 27): OUT's Jerry Palm (Dec. 7): OUT

St. Bonaventure Bonnies -- 7-5 Overall; 0-0 Atlantic 10 Conference

The Bonnies entered the season picked to finish fourth in the A10 by the media and were slotted to contend heavily for their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000.

One of the big reasons for St. Bonaventure's high expectations was the development of senior forward Andrew Nicholson, who last year averaged 20.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg and earned All-A10 First Team honors. This season, however, Nicholson's scoring had dropped by almost five points a game (14.3) and his rebound numbers are down as well (6.9).

That will need to change if the Bonnies, who begin A10 play Wednesday against George Washington Colonials, would like to earn their way into March Madness.

Bracketology status:

SB Nation's Blogging The Bracket: N/A
ESPN's Joe Lunardi (Jan. 3): OUT's Andy Glockner (Dec. 27): OUT's Jerry Palm (Dec. 7): OUT

Honorable Mention

Manhattan Jaspers: The Jaspers (9-6, 0-0 MAAC) probably doesn't have the talent and non-conference victories to earn an at-large bid, but there's a chance Manhattan could challenge the Gaels for the conference title. However, only time will tell.

Princeton Tigers: The favorite to win the Ivy League is Harvard, but the Tigers (8-7, 0-0) were picked to finish second in the preseason media polls. Seems fair for a squad that nearly knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year.

Cornell Big Red: The Big Red (4-9, 0-0) have played a pretty brutal non-conference squad for an Ivy League team, so that's why their overall record looks shabby. However, this young squad has talent. It may not happen this year for Cornell, but in years to come watch out.

For more on Bracketology, be sure to check out the SB Nation blog Blogging The Bracket. Want to track the Mid-Major teams? Visit Mid-Major Madness.