"Sometimes your first tournament game is the hardest to play," said SBU head coach Steve Pikiell after SBU defeated Binghamton, 62-57. HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN
Former Stony Brook Men’s Basketball head coach Steve Pikiell during a game against Binghamton in March 2015. He is now the head coach for the Rutgers team. HEATHER KHALIFA / THE STATESMAN

Longtime Stony Brook Men’s Basketball head coach Steve Pikiell will make his return to Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Dec. 10, when the Seawolves host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

In March, Pikiell signed a 5-year, $8 million contract with Rutgers after coaching 10 seasons at Stony Brook, culminating in the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance this spring.

The game – which was revealed in Rutgers’ schedule release Thursday – marks the third time in Stony Brook Men’s Basketball history that the team will face a power conference school on its home court. The Seawolves lost to the Villanova Wildcats, 72-44, in November 2006 before losing to the Illinois Fighting Illini, 76-66, in the National Invitational Tournament in March 2010.

Rutgers, a member of the Big Ten Conference, went just 10-22 last season, prompting a coaching change. The Scarlet Knights’ coaching staff includes three others former Seawolves: assistant coach Jay Young, director of basketball operations Bryan Dougher and assistant athletic director for strength and conditioning David VanDyke.

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Although Stony Brook has yet to release its official 2016-17 schedule, several other non-conference opponents have been revealed through other teams’ schedule releases.

For the third consecutive season, the Seawolves will face the Hofstra Pride. The Long Island rivalry will be renewed on Dec. 13, when the teams face off at Hofstra Arena. Stony Brook won last season’s meeting, 71-68.

Columbia will come to Stony Brook in the season opener on Nov. 11, marking the second time in three seasons that the Seawolves host the Lions to begin the season.

Perhaps the most challenging game for Stony Brook revealed so far will be on Nov. 22, when the team plays at Maryland. The Terrapins, also of the Big Ten Conference, were assigned a No. 5 seed in last season’s NCAA Tournament, advancing to Sweet 16.

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Stony Brook will play at Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Nov. 20 and at Towson on Nov. 25. The following day, on Nov. 26, the team will face either Robert Morris or Hampton as part of a small non-conference tournament.

On Dec. 17, Stony Brook will host Saint Francis, while on Dec. 31, the Seawolves will head to Rhode Island to play the Brown Bears in their second Ivy League matchup of the season.

In all, The Statesman was able to confirm nine non-conference games for Stony Brook. Over the last five seasons, the Seawolves have scheduled between 13 and 15 games in the nonconference portion of their schedule.

Correction: Aug. 28, 2016

A previous version of this story indicated that Rutgers would be the first power conference opponent that Stony Brook Men’s Basketball has hosted. Rutgers will actually be the third power conference opponent in school history.

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