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LISTEN: Stony Brook Coach Says Community Has 'Exploded' With NCAA Tournament Excitement

STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Stony Brook doesn't have to tell any new sob stories about coming up short.

After years of heartbreak, the Seawolves are going to the NCAA Tournament for the first time after defeating Vermont to win the America East Tournament.

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"It's been unbelievable, this whole community. We played the game at home. It was electric," Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell told WFAN's Mike Francesa on Monday.

"We have a great senior class, and we had a player (Jameel Warney) just have his best game of his career, and he's had a lot of really good games and were able to beat a good Vermont team by six points. And this community and this university has exploded ever since."

Warney had 43 points and 10 rebounds in that 80-74 win over Vermont.

Next up for the 13th-seeded Seawolves (26-6): Kentucky.

Not exactly a nobody.

"This is a huge (obstacle)," Pikiell said of the fourth-seeded Wildcats (26-8). " ... They've got the most storied program. They've been in the tournament 55 times and a Hall of Fame coach and first-round draft picks up and down the board."

MORE: Mike Francesa: NCAA Tournament Committee 'Consumed By Television'

CBS2's Dick Brennan reports that the team's Cinderalla story has the whole island buzzing.

"It's a big accomplishment for Long Island schools and hopefully they go to the Final Four," Stacey Fiore of Huntington told CBS2.

Stony Brook student Ravi Patel called it "insane" after Stony Brook beat Vermont to punch their ticket to March Madness.

"Everyone was rushing the court after we won -- Jameel Warney with a career game," Patel said. "It was insane to see and now we're going to the tournament for the first time ever."

Some fans believe Stony Brook's appearance will help the school recruit more top players.

"I think a lot more kids will want to go to Stony Brook. It will make more publicity for the school," Jill Fratepietro of Port Jefferson told CBS2.

Tipoff is at 9:40 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday.

To listen to Francesa's full interview with Pikiell, click on the audio player above.

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