Saturday, January 10, 2009

Siena Win Sets Up Another Showdown

While it's still relatively early in the season of conference play, it appears that the top four teams might be Siena, Niagara, Rider and Fairfield.

So far, Siena had handled, with relative ease, two of the other three, defeating Fairfield (87-81) on Jan., 1, and Rider (91-81) on Friday, Jan. 9.

Which, of course, sets up another showdown when Niagara comes to Albany to play the Saints at Albany's Times Union Center at noon on Saturday, Jan. 24th.

Right now, the Saints and the Purple Eagles are the final two unbeaten teams in MAAC play. Siena is 5-0 (11-5 overall) and Niagara is 4-0 (13-3 overall).

Siena is off to its fastest start in league play since a 6-0 beginning to the 1999-00 season, the last year of former coach Paul Hewitt's time at the Loudonville, N.Y., school.

Niagara's 13-3 overall start is the best in the lengthy history of that program.

The Purple Eagles' play thus far might be coming as somewhat as a surprise. League coaches picked Niagara, in their preseason poll, to finish fourth in the final standings.

But this blogger will take a bow for predicting, in a season preview written for The Sporting News' College Basketball annual, that Niagara will finish second.

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