Stony Brook Seawolves
Record: 26-6 (14-2 America East)
Head Coach: Steve Pikiell (11th season)
Season Recap: Stony Brook had a record of 4-4 on Dec. 12─a stretch that included a 25-point loss to Notre Dame in South Bend─but the team then rattled off 18 consecutive victories before going down at Albany Feb. 17. The Seawolves also lost their final regular-season game at home against Vermont, but got revenge by defeating the Catamounts in the conference championship game. Stony Brook, the losers of four of the previous five America East tournament championship games, had never qualified for the NCAA tournament before its 80-74 victory Saturday.
The Seawolves were in danger of another such disappointment, trailing by double digits late in the second half. But senior forward Jameel Warney put the team on his back in that contest, going off for 43 points as he led Stony Brook to an 80-74 victory. Warney averaged 19.0 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game this season—all tops in the conference. Three more Seawolves averaged double-digit scoring─Carson Puriefoy, Rayshaun McGrew and Ahmad Walker. Stony Brook is a solid defensive team, too, allowing opponents to score just 63.4 points per game and shoot just 40.4 percent.
How they make a run: Warney puts together another scoring outburst like he put up in the America East title game, and he becomes to be a dominant force in the paint to put a scare in first-round foe Kentucky.
How they falter: The Seawolves have a tough task ahead of them with a red-hot Kentucky team looming in round one. The Wildcats impressive backcourt of Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe can get hot quickly, and head coach John Calipari's squad is just too deep for Warney and Stony Brook to overcome.