Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore can't believe his good fortune. According to NIT rules, home games go to the higher-seeded teams unless theire's a scheduling conflict. Fortunately for him, the Seawolves (22-9) were matched against Illinois (19-14) of the Big Ten in the first round.
Illinois had a scheduling conflict, so it will visit Stony Brook Arena for a first-round game Monday night. The Arena hasn't been used for two years, but Fiore had it prepared for a possible America East title game. That fell through when the Seawolves lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
Now this turn of good luck. It will be a 9 p.m. game that is televised on ESPN. Illinois and Virginia Tech were considered the two bubble teams that just missed the NCAA tournament, so, Stony Brook will be a prohibitive underdog.
"Who cares?" Fiore gushed. "We've got a Big 10 team coming to Stony Brook for a game on ESPN that will be seen in Chicago. What exposure for the university."