With the NCAA Tournament just a week away, two regional colleges will face off Saturday morning for the right to advance to the big dance. University at Albany men’s basketball coach Will Brown has been here before.
In 2007, his Great Danes were the reigning America East champions, having put a serious scare into top-seeded UConn in the NCAA Tournament a year before. But in order to get back to the big dance, UAlbany had to do something it had never done — go into Patrick Gymnasium and beat the University of Vermont on its own floor.
UAlbany did just that, holding off the Catamounts in a 60-59 instant classic.
Six years later, the Great Danes have not been back to the NCAAs. But after a heart-stopping weekend at home in the America East tourney, fourth-seeded UAlbany is just one win away. UAlbany escaped Maine by one point in the quarterfinals, then got a SUNY-sized monkey off its back on Sunday night when it finally dismissed top-seeded Stony Brook 61-59 in electrifying manner.
Brown is in his 12th season at UAlbany, and he was there for the five-win years that came before any NCAA tournament dreams.