Siena Searching For Sixth In MAAC
It's hard to believe, but there are only two weeks left in the regular season for the Siena men's basketball team.
The Saints have just three Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games remaining, including tonight's Valentine's Day date with Manhattan, in Albany.
Siena (6-9, 11-14) is tied for sixth place in the league standings and would like to remain there, as the top six teams avoid having to play in the first round of the MAAC tournament (March 1-5 in Springfield, Mass.).
Last season, the Saints finished seventh (despite having the league's player of the year in Ryan Rossiter) at 8-10 and had to survive an overtime game against Manhattan, just to make it to the quarterfinals. The next day, with a quick turnaround, Siena was driled by Iona, 94-64, in the quarterfinals.
The Saints have a somewhat favorable schedule in their remaining three games, as two of the opponents (Marist, Canisius) are at the bottom of the standings are two of the games are at home, where Siena is 8-4 this season.
Still, it looks as if the Saints will have to go 2-1, possibly even 3-0, to remain out of the bottom four spots.
Siena is currently tied with Niagara at 6-9, but the Purple Eagles play the three teams at the bottom of the standings (Saint Peter's, Canisius, Martst) to finish the season.
The Saints could also leapfrog fifth-place Rider (8-7), because the Broncs play three teams above them (Iona, Loyola (Md.), Fairfield) in their final league contests.
If Siena avoids the first round and has a decent matchup, its has a chance to advance through to the semifinals.
The Saints have had an up and down season, which could be expected with all of the issues regarding injuries, having a player transfer, two players ruled ineligible and trying to replace two 1,000-point scorers (Rosster and Clarence Jackson).
A strong finish to the regular season and a win in the conference tournament would put this team right around .500 for the year. That's not where Siena fans want to be, but with everything that's happened this season, it would say a lot for what coach Mitch Buonaguro and his team have accomplished.