Credit: Habib Affinnih, ASP Sports
By: Sara Morris
The NCAA announced earlier this year that March Madness, the collegiate Division 1 elimination tournament, will be back for the men and women’s 2021 basketball season after its cancelation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Selection Sunday next month for both the men and women’s 64 team bracket, the University at Albany Basketball teams are hoping for win out seasons and the chance to compete in the tournament, scheduled March 18th through April 4th.
The UAlbany Men’s Basketball team is seeded seventh in the America East conference and the women’s team is fifth.
The UAlbany women’s basketball team was put on pause until Feb. 19th due to a positive COVID-19 test within the team’s personnel group, according to their website. Cancelling this weekend’s games against Harford, and postponing their final home games versus New Jersey Technical Institute scheduled Feb. 20-21 to a later date. The new game date announcement will be made by the American East Conference.
But, the women’s head coach, Colleen Mullen, says that if the team keeps its focus on a strong defense, they have a chance to compete successfully in the American East Conference Championship on March 13th.
“We’re getting better all the time,” Coach Mullen says “And, if we can really take care of our business, in terms of protecting our home court, we can continue to play better and be where we want to be.”
The women’s team enters their pause with a 5-5 conference record.
The UAlbany Men’s Basketball team competed against the UMass Lowell team Feb 12-13th at the SEFCU Arena. Finishing the games with a 5-5 conference record.
The winners from the 32 Division 1 conferences have an automatic placement in the NCAA March Madness bracket. The remaining teams will be selected through at-large-bids via the selection committee on March 15th.
The women’s tournament will be held in a San Antonio, Texas. bubble, with the championship game held at the Alamodome Stadium on April 4th. Similarly, the men’s tournament will be held in Indianapolis, Ind. with the championship game on April 3rd at the Lucas Oil Stadium.
The NCAA is planning on following all CDC COVID-19 guidelines for a safe and successful tournament including separate hotel floors for each competing team, as well as secured transport from the hotel to their venues.