Game 11: Siena vs. Saint Joseph's
McCaffery grew up in Philly, played college ball there (at Penn) and even coached his first game at Siena there. Here's my story from today's paper on the game.
Here's what McCaffery had to say about the Big 5 (LaSalle, Penn, Villanova, Temple and Saint Joseph's).
"Within the Big 5, since I had no direct affiliation, you might have favored one team one year when they (had a player you liked)," McCaffery said. "I liked St. Joe’s when they had Danny Kelly and guys like that. And Villanova had some really good players and I liked some of those Villanova teams. LaSalle had some really good teams. And those Penn teams in the '70s were phenomenal – they just didn’t lose. The one year of course, they were 28-0 at the end of the regular-season and ended up losing to Villanova in the Eastern Regional Championship game. That was the beauty of it – you had five teams and they were all good. It would have been easy to say: "I like the two teams that are winning", but they were all winning – they all won 20 games and would go to the Tournament."
The Hawks have been a national staple out of the Atlantic-10 Conference in the 14 seasons under coach Phil Martelli, but this season they haven't won back-to-back games.
Saint Joseph's is coming off a 71-67 victory over Cornell on Dec. 22.
The Saints are playing their last couple of games before the new year (calendar that is), with this game and Tuesday's game at Holy Cross.
Siena is still looking to string some wins together, especially since they feel like they've let some non-conference situations get away from them.
The key for Siena will be replacing Tay Fisher's points from last year's game against Saint Joseph's. The senior scored 14 points and hit three 3-pointers.
The Saints have been struggling from beyond the arc (29.8 percent) this season.
Records: Siena 6-4. Saint Joseph's 5-5
The Series: Saint Joseph's leads the all-time series 2-1 and the Hawks won last year's meeting 74-68
Player to Watch: Ahmad Nivins, senior Saint Joseph's. Nivins averages 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game so far for the Hawks. Nivins burned the Saints last year with 20 points and shutting him down will be key if Siena is to come out of the city of Brotherly Love with a win.
X-factor: Josh Duell, senior Siena. Duell seems to step up in these types of games and the way he's come around lately after dealing with that Achilles injury from the beginning of the year has been very promising. Duell is only averaging 2.1 points per game and he only scored two points last season against the Hawks when they had a player by the name of Pat Calathes. Watch Duell spread the Saint Joseph's defense and make a difference tomorrow.
Injury Report: Siena junior Cory Magee (concussion) still hasn't played this season and we'll see if this will be the game where he finally makes his return from a preseason injury.
Prediction: Siena 67, Saint Joseph's 66 (This is the first game this season where I'm really unsure of how things will play out. This should be a good one though. My record is 8-2)