Sunday, March 16, 2008

Know Your Saints: Previewing Siena

The seedings are done, the brackets are set, and now it's time to play some basketball. As always, the top teams in the tourney are household favorites such as UCLA, North Carolina, and Duke. But at the same time, there are a bunch of scrappy, lovable underdogs who burst onto the national scene by virtue of winning hallowed league tournaments such as the Big Sky or the MEAC.

Anyways, our Commodores have drawn one of those mysterious underdogs in the Siena Saints, who went 13-5 in the MAAC (no, that's not a typo, that's the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), and 22-10 overall. So, who are these Saints? And where the hell is Siena? Read on, my friends, read on...

For starters, Siena is located in Loudonville, New York, which is just outside of Albany (interesting fact: I have been going to Loudonville for Thanksgiving since I was about 5 years old. It's a pretty nice place). It is home to about 3,000 undergraduate students and, according to their website, "admission to the college is competitive." A bad omen for Vanderbilt: Siena is affiliated with the Catholic church, so they will have God on their side. Then again, we have Shan Foster.

Alright, now to the basketball. The regular season MAAC co-champs clinched a tourney seed by blowing out Rider in the championship game by 21 points. Key wins include a shocking 79-67 victory over Stanford in November, and... that's really it. The only other big-time opponents that Siena has played are Syracuse, St. Joseph's, and Memphis, and the Saints lost those contests by a combined 58 points.

Siena is young- only one senior is on the roster- and have a trio of high scoring players who average over 15 points a game. Sophomore Edwin Ubiles leads the squad with 17.3 points a contest and classmate Alex Franklin is tops on the team with 8.0 boards a game.

What Siena lacks is size, as their resident big man, junior Josh Duell, stands at a "mere" 6'7'', the same height as Andre Walker. They do have three guys that are 6'9'', but none of them are significant contributors. And Franklin, their top rebounder, is shorter than Shan Foster at 6'5''. As long as A.J. Ogilvy gets plenty of touches, we should be fine.

People on the Siena bandwagon (including that stupid guy on CBS) may point to their excellent guards when arguing for an upset. I have one thing to say to these foolish people: Please. Do they really think that Jermaine Beal, Alex Gordon, Shan Foster, and Keegan Bell can't handle anything that Siena will throw at them? As an added bonus, the emergence of Jamie Graham as a super lock-down defender and energy guy will certainly help to stifle Ubiles and company.

Siena has a pretty good basketball tradition. This is their fourth dance in program history, the last coming on 2002, where they beat Alcorn State in the play-in game. They also placed third in the NIT tournament in '94.

So, now you know everything you ever wanted to about this quaint little college in upstate New York.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

ugh, first of all anybody who criticizes the MAAC immediately brands themselves as a moron. This conference has been giving majors fits in the tourney since Luis Flores was killin it with Manhattan 5 years ago. Also this year the MAAC sports a pro-prospect better than anyone in the SEC, except for a certain starving kid in Louisiana, in Jason Thompson. Also Loudonville might be nice, but Siena is a shit hole, trust me, i went to a basketball camp there with my high school team. Most of that combined 58 pts is the 44 in the loss to Memphis so thats horribly deceiving b/c they play St. Joe's and Syracuse tough. And Jaime Graham a "super lock-down defender" PLEASE. He's a super duper lock-down defender. Finally I miss the picture, I thought it was the clear highlight of the article.

Greg Viverito said...

I don't think you're giving Siena enough credit. I would doubt you've actually seen them play this year, so I find it hard to believe that you're dismissing them so early. And the thought of Keegan Bell "handling everything they throw it him" is not really an inspiring image for me personally. I obviously want Vandy to win this game (and they more than likely will), but your preview seems pretty short-sighted, even for a Vanderbilt blog

Eric Silver said...

Haha, I wasn't explicitly criticizing the MAAC, and yeah, Luis Flores was the man, but how can you say that it is even a semi-legit conference compared to the SEC? Or the A-10, Mountain West, or the Sun Belt for that matter? It has always been a one-bid league, and MAAC teams don't have a particularly impressive track record in the tourney, save for Manhattan (and even saying that is a stretch). There are always some legit teams in the conference, but please... it is a low-major league, no questions asked.

Also, it is true that most of Siena's points in those three losses came to Memphis, but it's actually a stretch to say that Syracuse and St. Joe's are particularly good teams. Syracuse will be playing in the NIT, and St. Joe's is an 11 seed. And let's not talk about Siena's losses to Fairfield, Loyola, Manhattan, etc.

Vanderbilt won't walk all over Siena by any means, but I think we can all say with confidence that the 'Dores will be moving on.

Greg Viverito said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Viverito said...

If the team has the same attitude as you, I think it's safe to say that we are not necessarily moving on. I'm not arguing that they come from a low major conference, but watching this tournament in the past should have shown you that no team is safe. I dont even need to start listing the teams that believed they were moving on before getting ousted by great performances mid and low major teams

Anonymous said...

you're the one that originally claimed syracuse and st. joe's were big time opponents. Also that Niagra team played Oklahoma tougher than the final score indicated. Also next time you "preview" a team, can you actually preview it instead of blabbering about nothing for 3 paragraphs then glancing over the important aspects of the team.

Bill said...

anyone defending Siena is a moron. This game will be a blowout, Siena has no chance. Sure there are lower seeds that always knock off the favorites, but this will not be one of those games. If anything you're giving Siena too much credit by even mentioning them in this blog. Siena and the MAAC are garbage.

Aram said...

Bill, congratulations, you are a fucking moron and know absolutely nothing about college basketball. I could rattle off at least 10 examples of upsets that were 100 times more surprising that siena beating us would be.

Bill said...

First of all, I clearly know more about college basketball than you do, if you think Siena is a dangerous team.
Second of all, I realize there are many bigger upsets than Siena beating VU, and I can think of alot more than 10. Although I'm not sure if any of them would be "100 times more suprising," but then again I'm a fucking moron who knows absolutely nothing about college basketball. This is an NCAA tournament game, Vandy will be on top of their game, and Siena is not capable of matching up against them.
And I must ask, Do you know anything about the MAAC? Have you ever seen any MAAC teams play? It makes Conference USA look like the NBA. It's a completely different level of play, and Siena beating Stanford was clearly a fluke. I've seen both Siena and Vanderbilt play in person within the past year, and I can assure you and anyone who thinks Siena will win that you are sorely mistaken. If Vandy does not win by double digits I will be surprised.

Aram said...

My sister has seen some teams in person too, that doesn't make her qualified to pass judgment on them. And yes I'm clumping you in with my sister when it comes to basketball knowledge. I'm not saying Siena is gonna win or even that they pose a huge threat, I'm saying overlooking anybody at this point in the season is just asking for trouble. Also when Hampton beat Iowa St. they were clearly the better team because it was the tournament so everybody was "on top of their game." And if you'd been paying attention to the shitty MAAC then you'd realize that any game involving Rider does have an NBA feel because Jason Thompson will be a better pro than anybody on Vandy, trust me, I've seen him play and apparently that makes all the difference.

Bill said...

I'm not really sure why you think you're capable of analyzing the basketball knowledge of strangers, especially since you've said nothing worthwhile or original. I doubt you knew anything about the MAAC or who Jason Thompson was before today, so just shut up.
And don't tell me that Rider games have an NBA feel. That's complete bullshit. I'm not saying Thompson is not a great player, but there is definitely not an NBA feel in any MAAC games. I pointed out that I had seen Siena in person to let you know I am aware of the MAAC, and I've seen how different the level of play is between them and the bigger conferences. Of course you can't take any team for granted in the NCAA's, but let's be realistic. Siena is by far the worst 13 seed in the tournament, and if the MAAC is so great why do they never any at large bids? And don't even bother responding to this with your sarcastic bullshit comebacks because nobody wants to hear it.