Pete Iorizzo on Siena, Part Deux
For a team like Siena to crack the Top 25, I think it would have to beat a Top 25-caliber team. The Saints had chances to do that against the likes of Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Kansas and Oklahoma State. They lost all four games.
I'm taking nothing away from the fine season Siena's enjoyed. And I applaud Fran McCaffery for playing a tough schedule. But in my mind, Siena's Top 25 ship has all but sailed.
2. I liked what you wrote -- and Fran McCaffery said -- last week about Siena's BracketBuster matchup, so let's take it a step further. If you were a nonpartial college basketball fan, wouldn't you make time in your schedule to watch Stephen Curry against Butler?
I certainly understand why Siena fans are disappointed that Butler won't be coming to Times Union Center. But to say the Saints got hosed by ESPN is just silly. Siena's going to be playing the best team in one of the best mid-major leagues in the country. This still is a great chance for the Saints to improve their resume and -- potentially -- their seeding.
3. I know it's only February, but newspapers, blogs, radio, tv shows, etc. have all been discussing this, so I'm curious about your take: if Siena wins out for the rest of the regular season, then loses in the MAAC tournament, will the Saints get an at large NCAA bid?
Siena's biggest problem is its 0-4 record against Top 50 RPI teams. But the Saints do have seven wins over top 100 teams. And can you keep a team with an RPI of 25-35ish out of the NCAA Tournament?
4. Where would you put the odds of Siena going unbeaten the rest of the way in the MAAC? And which game do you think is the most likely that they'll lose?
The Saints may very well lose to Rider on Saturday. Even if not, keep an eye on Siena when it plays at Iona on Feb. 16.
I will say this: If Siena heads to Western New York 16-0 for the last weekend of the season, it will return to Times Union Center for the MAAC Tournament undefeated. I love Siena to sweep Buffalo in that scenario.
5. What's your prediction? Is Josh Duell going to play, and if so, will he be camping out at the top of the key, ready to fire away if it's a tight game in the final seconds?
Rider always seems to play Siena tough at home. But I'm not sure about the Broncs' ability to guard the Saints. I'll take Siena, 83-74.
As for Duell, I'd say it's very unlikely he plays -- that ought to be good news for Rider fans who remember last season.