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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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NIT: Stony Brook to Host Illinois

The Stony Brook men’s basketball team, which guaranteed itself an NIT bid with a regular-season America East championship, will face Illinois at home  at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17 in the Stony Brook Arena, according to a team spokesperson.

The game will be Stony Brook’s first -ever postseason basketball appearance at the Division I level.

The Seawolves (22-9, 13-3) are an eight seed.  Illinois, a Big Ten conference team that many expected to get into the NCAA national championship, is a one-seed, and the top team in the tournament.

Stony Brook will host the game due to a bizarre turn of events.

Traditionally, the higher seed hosts the first round of the NIT.

But Illinois (19-14), not expecting to play in the tournament, booked Alegria: Cirque du Soleil in their standard home of Assembly Hall.

Stony Brook Arena, which had been vacant all season due to impending renovation, underwent repairs at the end of the season to prepare for the possibility of hosting a major tournament game.

The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

The National Invitation Tournament includes teams that were just on the edge of making it into the NCAA tournament as well as regular season champions who did not earn an automatic bid by winning their conference’s postseason tournament and who were not otherwise invited to the national championship.

The Seawolves won their regular-season championship and were guaranteed a bid.  The 2009-10 season saw Stony Brook break records in wins and conference wins, and  the Seawolves went 12-1 at home over the course of the season.

Stony Brook finds itself in the NIT after being denied a chance to play its way into the NCAA national championship tournament by Boston.

The Seawolves lost to the Boston University Terriers, 70-63, in the semifinals of the America East postseason championship tournament.  Stony Brook was the top seed.

Boston went on to play Vermont in the championship game on Saturday.  Vermont won and will play against Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

If Stony Brook defeats Illinois, they will face the winner of  the Tulsa-Kent State matchup.

Stony Brook’s senior guard Muhammad El-Amin (Lansing, Mich.) is 45 points away from 1,000 heading into Wednesday night’s game.

El-Amin was named the Kevin Roberson America East Player of the Year.

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