Playing Division I opponents in exhibition games is nothing new for the College of St. Rose basketball program. The Division II program, nestled in Pine Hills section of the City of Albany, has made the I-90 trip to the Carrier Dome to take on Jim Boeheim's Syracuse Orange for a preseason matchup. Trust me, Boeheim doesn't waste time. If an exhibition opponent isn't going to challenge his players like he needs, they aren't playing his team in the preseason. That is why I could never understand why Siena nor UAlbany would play St. Rose in an exhibition.

Rob Simmons
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Rob Simmons

It made no sense and until Coach Carm Maciariello of Siena and Coach Mike Perno of St. Rose made it happen Monday night at the Times Union Center. Trust me, I know former St. Rose coach Brian Beaury, who compiled a 643-226 (.664) career record before retiring in 2018, he would have loved to have played either of the area's Division I programs. Now, these two coaches, both whom played parts or all of their collegiate careers for their respective programs, made it happen.

Rob Simmons

Coach Carm was on The Drive with Charlie & Dan on Tuesday and spoke glowingly about the exhibition. Sure his team used a 20-3 run in the second half to snatch any sense of victory from the Golden Knights but Maciariello also understood the importance for the players on the other bench. Most every single player on the St. Rose team wants or wanted to play for a Division I basketball program. Maybe some did and transferred but the point is those guys want to prove themselves against the best.

Rob Simmons

So when you are Coach Perno and you want to your guys to take on the best, you find a willing Division I program like Siena to challenge your team to prepare them for the grind of the season. When you are Coach Carm and you want to challenge your student-athletes early, you open your season on the road at #23 ranked St. Boneventure on November 9th. That's a nice challenge!

Rob Simmons

This exhibition between these two programs should continue. By the way, Siena won on Monday 77-70. Hopefully, we can make headway and include another Division I program in town and maybe get another tradition going again sooner rather than later.

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