NEW YORK – It started in the media room. Shortly after their 65-57 gut-it-out victory over Stony Brook Saturday at Madison Square Garden, La Salle coach John Giannini said how he believed the America East club deserved the NCAA last season. “They (Stony Brook) proved themselves over three months,” Giannini said.
After the formal press conference, Giannini relaxed a second in the Garden hallway, wished Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell a great effort and best wishes, then proceeded to elaborate on his statement regarding the Seawolves.
“They won the America East and deserved to go to the NCAA. They were upset in the America East Tournament and went NIT. To me,” the LaSalle mentor added, “a regular season champion coming out of a conference like that (usually one bid) should get the NCAA. Let the conference tournament winner (if not the regular season champion) go NIT.” Giannini strongly believes the home and home acid test of three months more than makes a team worthy for the Big Dance.
Last season Stony Brook captured the America East with a 14-2 record, but were upset by Albany in the conference semifinals. They earned the NIT bid, defeating UMass before losing at eventual runner-up Iowa and finishing with an outstanding 25-8 mark. “You are measuring three months against three or four days,” the LaSalle mentor added. “A conference champion could just get hot at the right time for a few days.”
In effect, Giannini believes the tournament committee, especially with mid-majors, is putting more credence into those three or four days in early March as opposed to the three month body of work.
Good points, but as Giannini added in jest, “Who will listen to me.” Maybe somebody in power should.