Winning the regular season title in his first two years at the helm of the Siena Saints men's basketball program has apparently gone under the radar for his fellow MAAC coaches and that always seems to be OK with the kid from Clifton Park. Saints' head coach Carm Maciariello has done nothing but win, even under some ridiculously restrictive conditions. So, when the MAAC coaches poll came out Tuesday evening and Siena was picked 8th, I laughed. Nope, certainly not at the Saints but at the coaches that voted.

Rob Simmons/Cal Sport Media
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Coach Carm and his crew were picked 6th in his first season at the helm in 2019-20. Siena won the regular season MAAC championship and were well on their way to a possible trip the NCAA tournament when COVID 19 shut the world down that March. In his second season, amidst a stop and go schedule, filled with virtual practices, isolation and limited rosters, Maciariello led his squad to their second regular season championship.

Yup, the Saints lost to a Rick Pitino led Iona squad in the quarterfinals of the 2021 MAAC Tournament. That was a tough break for Coach Carm and his group but given the conditions and the inconsistencies of the season, a regular season championship may have been more difficult to achieve.

Robert Simmons

Working in college athletics for over two decades taught me one thing, do not underestimate the effectiveness of coaching. In today's college basketball, especially given the volatile roster compositions, as a result of the NCAA Transfer Portal, the coaches that are the most effective communicators are victorious. Do you want some hiring criteria for a solid college coach? Look at a coach that wins in their first year at the helm of a program because in almost every case half of the roster has been turned over. Carm Maciariello did that at Siena. Look at coaches that were able to keep their team together and win under stressful and adverse conditions. Carm Maciariello did that last season during a pandemic.

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Dan and I went over to watch Siena men's basketball practice last Saturday. We are both willing to go out on a limb and say that the MAAC Coaches' Poll is wrong. Siena will finish top 3 this year in the regular season, and if they can stay healthy, they'll battle Rick Pitino and the Iona Gaels for a trip to the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. This will be a great year for Coach Carm and the Saints. You can hear Coach Carm Maciariello each Tuesday at 5:15pm on The Drive with Charlie & Dan on 104.5 FM The Team.

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