Albany Cup is Rivalry Worth Continuing, But Will It?
I'm not from the Capital Region, but I love presence of the Albany Cup game and it is the best basketball game either Siena or UAlbany play all season, conference championship games aside. We saw another classic matchup Saturday night between the Saints and Great Danes in what should serve as a reminder to all parties involved that, for the good of the sport in this area, the rivalry needs to continue.
With the 74-69 win on Saturday, UAlbany simply strengthens its case for a home-and-home series. The Danes have won 6 of the last 8 Cups including last season's meeting at SEFCU Arena, the only time the two teams have played on UAlbany's homecourt.
And there lies the sticking point in the talks to continue this now 17 year tradition with both programs at the Division I level. UAlbany head coach Will Brown insists on Siena coming to SEFCU every other year and Siena's public stance has been that UAlbany's on-campus arena simply isn't big enough to accommodate the number of people who want to see the game in person.
So, what to do? For more than two years now, I have thought 2017 would be the final year of the rivalry. Not forever, but for long enough for us, as fans and media members, to miss it. If I'm negotiating on UAlbany's behalf, I don't agree to extending the series without a home-and-home set up. If I'm negotiating on Siena's behalf, I have access to the arena that is best-suited for this rivalry, so I, too, stand my ground.
Here's the thing: while fans, players and media members love this game, the benefits simply don't add up to the location headaches it creates.