SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) – New conference, but the goal remains the same. The Bryant Bulldogs officially open their America East conference slate on Saturday against Binghamton.

The focus remains on keeping their recent success going against a new set of opponents.

“It’s an exciting time for our guys. New year, new league and I think its a great time of the year. Starting league play, it’s really a new year for everybody,” said head coach Jared Grasso.

“This is what your work for all throughout the summer, all throughout preseason up until this second half of the year, conference play, so we are very excited,” said senior guard Charles Pride.

The Bulldogs enjoyed plenty of success in their final years in the NEC, ending with their first NCAA Tournament bid. With that comes a target from opponents they are not familiar with.

“People will be gunning to come after us being that we’ve had some success,” Grasso said. “That’s what we want. We want to be a team that’s respected and people need to be prepared to play.”

“We are just prepared for anything. We know we have a target on our backs and most likely every team in the league is coming for us,” Pride said.

Their first opponent will be the Binghamton Bearcats who were picked to finish fourth in the America East.

“Binghamton is a team that is very similar,” Grasso said. “They’re an older, physical, competitive, tough team, so I think tomorrow will be a battle.”

Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Chace Athletic Center.