Siena Is Believing: Why the Cinderella Saints' Confidence Is at an All-Time High

Paul SeaverCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2009

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 20:  The Siena Saints celebrate after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in overtime during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena on March 20, 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

They've made the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years. They've pulled off upsets in each of those appearances. Now it is time for Siena to show they are ready to hang with some of the nation’s best.

The 2008 NCAA Tournament shed light on the small school just outside Albany, New York. After winning the MAAC Tournament, the Siena Saints rolled into the tournament as a No. 13 seed, but after shocking No. 4 Vanderbilt in the first round that year, their future potential started to surface.

After winning another MAAC Tournament title, Siena vaulted up to No. 9 seed in the bracket and took care of business yet again. After taking care of Ohio State in the first round and then nearly knocking off No. 1 seed Louisville, it was clear the confidence was rising.

But it’s now or never for Siena, who carries one of their best teams ever into the 2009-10 season. The season, full of expectations, is led by an emerging coach and a talented group of players who know that now is the time to shine.

The Saints did lose one of their top performers in Kenny Hasbrouck, but they bring back six of their top seven scorers from a year ago.

Point guard Ronald Moore made a name for himself in the NCAA Tournament last year with some big players, and he will be joined again by fellow wingmen, Edwin Ubiles and Alex Franklin in the backcourt. Junior center Ryan Rossiter will again be the anchor down low for the Saints.

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Their non-conference slate is not as difficult as a year ago, but tough tests on the road at Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa will be good games to see. An early season test at home against Northeastern should be a good matchup for both teams, as well as games against Temple and St. John’s in the Philly Hoop Group Classic.

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