As the NCAA Tournament selection show aired Sunday (and the brackets were leaked online while the CBS show was in progress), those around the Siena and UAlbany basketball programs were watching not only to see who got in, but who didn’t.
While at-large bids to the NCAAs were never a possibility, both the Saints and Great Danes harbored long-shot hopes of being selected to compete in the second-tier NIT. For a mid-major of their level, that would cap successful seasons for 20-win programs that fell short of conference crowns.
That call never came for either team. But both will play on, in the same tournament, no less — the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Siena will play at least one home game, while UAlbany is hitting the road.
Siena will play Morehead State Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Times Union Center.
Meanwhile, UAlbany will travel to Athens, Ohio, to take on Ohio University Wednesday, athletic director Mark Benson said Sunday night. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.
The schools also considered the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) and the new Vegas 16 tournament at the end of the month.
As it did when it won the CBI in 2014, Siena (21-12) will host games. The fee is $40,000 for the first two games.
“We looked at the other tournaments, but we felt with being able to play home games, the CBI is the best alternative,” Siena athletic director John D’Argenio said.
With majors such as Ohio State, Georgia and Florida accepting NIT bids, and bubble teams such as St. Bonaventure, Monmouth and Valparaiso not making the NCAA Tournament, there was no room for mid-major teams such as Siena and UAlbany that didn’t even win regular-season titles.
Siena fell to eventual MAAC champion Iona in the semifinals of its conference tournament. UAlbany (24-8) was stunned on its home floor in the America East quarterfinal by lowly Hartford. The Danes were looking to return to the NCAAs for a fourth straight year under Will Brown.
In his first season in Loudonville, Jimmy Patsos took his 15-17 Siena team to the CBI; a losing year was turned into a championship one as Siena won five of six, including the best-of-three final, to win the 2014 title and finish 20-18.
Categories: College Sports