Siena 59 Northeastern 53
Despite beating a good-but-not-great Northeastern team, Siena has plenty of reasons for concern.
Any MAAC coaches watching ESPN this afternoon saw a lot of holes that are ready for exploitation. Maybe Tommy Dempsey was right... Early on, his team looks like the horse, or bronc, to beat.
Don't get me wrong, Siena is still a great team... but they're not so great that the season won't need to be played. There are a few teams that could give the Saints a run for their money.
Siena boasts the best player in the conference in Edwin Ubiles, closely followed by Ryan Thompson. What Siena does not boast, however, is any depth whatsoever. If Siena ever gets in foul trouble, it is ripe for the picking.
Clarence Jackson is no Kenny Hasbrouck. He is much more athletic and also wildly inconsistent, but Jackson does not bring the leadership that Hasbrouck did. Rossiter and Franklin are their usual efficient selves, but certainly not spectacular.
Siena's biggest hole is Fran McCaffery's lack of a bench. Kyle Downey is still riding the momentum of one good 10-minute stretch against Marist last season. With that game notwithstanding, he has been non-existent. Owen Wignot is not an impact player and O.D. Anosike is a freshman. McCaffery was furious with his bench's role in allowing Tennessee State to widdle away a large lead in his team's opening win.
Right now, Siena is a five-man team. Ronald Moore had a miserable outing (0-of-6), but everyone knows what he is capable of.
Against Northeastern, Siena leaned heavily on Ubiles. The rest of the team deferred to him and waited for him to make the plays.
Ryan Thompson vs. Edwin Ubiles should be a heavyweight match-up when the two teams meet.
Other Siena observations:
- Unlike last year, Siena has a very soft non-conference schedule. Georgia Tech and Temple are the biggest challenges. Much different from Kansas and Pittsburgh last year.
- Siena's free-throw shooting leaves a lot to be desired (17-of-27).
- Casiem Drummond should have a field day against Rossiter when the two meet Jan. 30 at the McCann Center.
- Unlike Siena, Rider has scheduled a very difficult out-of-conference schedule. The Broncs have already beaten No. 18/19 Mississippi State on the road, and Dempsey has Virginia and Kentucky on the slate. Maybe McCaffery does not want to expose his team to the heavyweights this season because of the potential outcome...
- Siena's defense looked ferocious something the team has to be thrilled about. On the other hand, this was Northeastern's first game. The team only averaged 62.5 ppg last season.
- An early MAAC Christmas present: Rider at Siena on Dec. 23.
In other news:
- The MAAC has started hot so far. Fairfield, Rider, and Siena are all 2-0. Niagara is 1-1 despite losing Tyrone Lewis. The loss came at Auburn.
- Marist returns to action at Hartford tomorrow night. While no game is a must-win at any point in the non-conference schedule, a win would really buoy Marist's spirits. Despite not having Drummond and Hall, the pieces are there to beat a team the Red Foxes rolled over last season in the BracketBuster game. Hartford is 0-2, but they lost, 71-69, to a good Baylor team. Hartford will be no pushover.
- I still maintain the long roadtrip is great for Marist's team chemistry. Since there has been so much turnover, a few long bus trips give the team a chance to get acclimated to one another.