University at Buffalo coach Bobby Hurley was on Cloud Nine Saturday night after his team beat Central Michigan for the Mid-American Conferences title.
His joy was tempered a bit by the loss of Rhode Island, coached by his brother Danny Hurley, to Dayton Saturday in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. Dayton wound up being the last team in the NCAA Tournament. Rhode Island almost surely would have taken Dayton's spot in the Big Dance, even if it had lost in the A10 final to Virginia Commonwealth (as Dayton did).
"I spoke with my brother for awhile on the phone last night, and that was a hard conversation because of what was at stake for him and losing a close game to Dayton," Bobby Hurley said Sunday night at UB's selection party. "I think if they had won it they would have had a real chance to get in the tournament so it was a hard thing because I felt so good about what we did and what our team did. To have the relationship I have with Dan and to know he wasn’t going to make it, it was pretty tough."
Rhode Island (22-9) instead will play in the National Invitation Tournament against Iona.
"He had a heckuva season, 23 wins and 13 converence wins in a really tough league," Bobby Hurley said. "They just missed a couple of close games. And if they hit one of them they would have been in the tournament. That’s how hard it is to get in. It’s not an easy event. I was spoiled when I played. Playing at Duke it’s almost your birthright to go, but it’s not that easy. So we’ve got to feel proud and happy about what we accomplished."
Hurley said he talked to his former coach, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Sunday morning.
"I spoke to Coach K this morning on the bus coming home. He sent me a text message last night that I didn’t even see until very late. I had a chance to talk with him again about the experience and the journey that we’re on. He was really excited about our team, and he watched our championship game."
The coaching Hurleys actually went 1-2 Saturday. In addition to Rhode Island's defeat, the St. Anthony High School team of Jersey City, N.J., coached by Bob Hurley Sr., lost to Roselle Catholic, 56-52, in the New Jersey non-public Class B state championship game.