Siena: Why It Won't Be a Shock When They Win in the NCAA Tournament
Siena is another high, double-digit seed that many expect to win in this year's NCAA Tournament. Yes, the Saints are a 13-seed, but their recent performance in the NCAA Tournament has made believers out of many. This year's Siena squad is a deep, veteran club that has experienced winning at the highest levels.
For that reason, it should be no surprise if and when the Saints take down their opposition in the NCAA Tournament. Here are five reasons why the Saints will go marching on.
Siena did not shake when it saw its name on the 13-seed line on Selection Sunday. It was only two years ago that Siena won its opening round game from that spot with a victory over Vanderbilt (on another note, that's twice in three years for the Commodores) in the 2008 Tournament.
Last year, the Saints took down Ohio State in double over time in an 8-9 game. The Saints won the MAAC regular season title and the conference tournament title three years in a row. That kind of experience can carry this team a long way.
Siena's Ryan Rossiter has been a near guarantee for a double-double every time he hits the court. Rossiter does not overly impress with his tools, but he has recorded a double-double 21 times in 33 games this season including 42 rebounds in three games of the MAAC conference tournament.
Purdue lacks its presence near the hoop with the season-ending injury to Robbie Hummel. That should open up space for Rossiter to control the paint.
Rossiter takes up space under the hoop, but the Saints also show an offense that features four different players averaging at least 13.5 points per game. Led by Clarence Jackson and Ronald Moore (the country's assist leader), the Saints' offense can score in high-percentage scenarios, but can also hit shots from the perimeter. Siena averaged over 75 points per game during the regular season.
Quality of Opposition
Siena can lean on its experience from previous tournaments, but the Saints can also gain from games played against tournament-quality opposition during the 2009-2010 regular season.
Siena posted a 27-6 record this season with four losses coming against teams in the Field of 65 including Georgia Tech, Northern Iowa, Butler, and Temple. A fifth loss came against NIT-bound St. John's. The Saints sliced through the MAAC with a 17-1 record, but their out of conference schedule prepared them well to take on the NCAA Tournament field.