Siena, MAAC Suffer from Saint's Losses to Temple and St. John's

Ari Kramer@Ari_KramerSenior Analyst IINovember 28, 2009

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 20: Ryan Rossiter #22 of the Siena Saints winces on the court during a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes 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)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

You all knew about Siena.

First, they demolished the fourth seeded Vanderbilt Commodores in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Then, minus Tay Fisher, the same Saints outlasted Ohio State and held a four-point lead with six minutes left against Louisville before Terrence Williams caught fire. 

Despite the graduation of Kenny Hasbrouck, this year's Siena team was destined for greatness. This would be the year that the Saints would crack the top 25—some preseason publications already had them top 20. This would be the year that the Saints would reach the Sweet 16. 

With a team as good as Siena, the MAAC had the opportunity to be a multi-bid league. The Saints could go undefeated in non-conference play, post another 16-2 conference record, lose the MAAC championship, and still be called on Selection Sunday.

But the Saints faltered. First, to the talons of the Temple Owls and then to the raging Red Storm of St. John's. 

The rest of Siena's OOC slate is like a mine field. It's dangerous and, just like one misstep, could create an explosion. One more OOC loss could make the Saints rely on a MAAC championship, which Niagara and Rider won't surrender easily, as it's their ticket to the Big Dance.

Brown and Albany should be cupcakes even for a Siena team that has struggled recently, but wins at Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa won't come easily. Even home games against Mount St. Mary's and a rebuilding St. Joe's cannot be taken lightly. 

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If Siena rolls over the rest of their schedule, including conference, an at-large bid would be a possibility. Niagara or Rider could steal the MAAC title and Siena could once again go dancing. 

However, reality is that the Saints are still learning how to gel without Hasbrouck. As a result, odds are that the Saints will lose another OOC game, which will terminate their at-large opportunity and the MAAC's multi-bid aspiration.

High expectations almost always lead to disappointment, and this instance is no different.


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