Greetings from the Times Union Center, where Rider and Siena are set to battle for first place in the MAAC.
If Marist has the loudest crowds in the MAAC, Siena certainly has the biggest. They block off all the seats behind the basket, forcing all the fans to the middle of the arena here, and word is the place is expected to be close to packed today, with a crowd of better than 6,000.
Siena and the U of Albany (UConn fans remember the U of A as the 16 seed that gave the Huskies a run for their money in the first round of the 2006 NCAA tournament) are the only tickets in town aside from the Albany River Rats, and they take their college basketball here in Albany very seriously.
There's some extra buzz around this game for two reasons: first, the winner will be in sole possession of first place in the MAAC. Second, it's on ESPN2, and that always adds a little flavor to MAAC games, which are seldom televised.
It'd be hard to overstate the importance of this game. If the Broncs steal a win here, they'll be considered the favorite to win the MAAC, and will be off to a 2-0 start in their most difficult four game stretch of the season.
That doesn't mean a loss is the end of the world, especially since they get a rematch with the Saints in eight days at Alumni Gym. But a win means a nine-game winning streak, a spot alone in first place, and all the confidence and momentum you could hope for returning home.
If you're able to watch the game, enjoy; whether or not you are, the TCHB and tomorrow's paper will have plenty of analysis.
Have a great Saturday.