Siena Fans –Don’t Panic
At 3-6, most Siena Basketball fans are in panic mode right now. I find that quite funny and almost embarrassing.
This team has played 9 games! They are 1-1 in the MAAC. They lost over 60% of their scoring from last year. They have a new head coach. Relax. The 2010-11 version of the Siena Saints aren't going to go 27-8 - even if Fran McCaffery was the head coach.
It's easy to knock Mitch Buonaguro. After all, he hasn't coached since 1991 and you might wonder why he was an assistant for so long. But let's be honest, this Siena team is a work-in-progress. The head coach is learning about his team and trying to figure out the rotations that will work. That's what all college head coaches are doing right now. It's called November and December.
Was it a risk Siena hired a long-time assistant? Perhaps. But 9 games into a season isn't the time to be making rash judgements. Keep in mind, the 2008-09 Saints started 2-3 and finished 27-8. The 2007-08 team began the year with a 2-3 record and went 23-11. Those teams also went to the NCAA Tournaments and I remember that most people were worried about the rough start back then too.
This also hasn't been an easy non-conference schedule - even if Mike Deane were here. Vermont, Minnesota, Northeastern, Butler, Rider, Princeton, Fairfield and Florida Atlantic will all be at the top of their conference standings when the season ends. While UAlbany is a cross-town rival (and will always play the Saints tough) and might even win the America East.
The win over Florida Atlantic was huge because it broke a 3-game losing streak and made the fans realize that this year's Saints might be okay. If Rossiter and Jackson "bring it" every night, this year's Siena team will be a tough out come tourney time. And you never know, by March - you'll probably realize that Mitch isn't such a bad coach after all.