Overview: Siena and UAlbany take the floor tonight in the eighth meeting since the crosstown rivalry has been renewed.
The Saints have won six of the past seven meetings and they seem to be the heavy favorite going into tonight.
Close to 11,000 seats had been sold on Friday morning (I'm glad I've got a seat reserved), so it should be another great atmosphere.
The last three games have been decided by a combined 13 points, two going to overtime, so it should be a close game.
"It's always going to be a close game," Siena senior co-captain Kenny Hasbrouck said. "One time, we were up by 22 and they still came back. No matter what we do it's going to be a hard game, a competitive game and it's going to be a close score at the end."
Records: UAlbany 5-2. Siena 3-3
The Series: The Saints led the most recent part of the series 6-1 and the overall series 29-18
Player to Watch: Alex Franklin, junior Siena. Franklin had a monster game last year against UAlbany, 24 points and 10 rebounds. Franklin has had breakout games before in big spots and he could be poised for another one tonight. UAlbany coach Will Brown called Franklin an "absolute stud" on the blocks. At 6-foot-5, Franklin is undersized down low but he is more athletic than most big men.
X-factor: Rebounding. Siena's style will dictate the pace because UAlbany is a much more athletic team than they were last season so it will come down to the war on the glass. If the Saints can keep it close with their improved rebounding led by sophomore Ryan Rossiter, the game shouldn't be close. The Great Danes won the rebounding battle 45-29 last year and if they can have that type of margin again, they may have a chance to steal this one.
Injury Report: Siena junior Cory Magee (concussion) didn't practice on Friday and is still working his way back from the preseason injury that has held him out of all game action and the trip to the Old Spice Classic.
As far as UAlbany is concerned, I think everyone is as healthy as can be although Coach Brown said he was a little banged up from playing tackle football with his six-year-old son Jackson.
"I'm hurting, so I don't know if I can deal with the noise right now," said Brown, when asked if he would do anything during practice to simulate the noise that will be generated by what should be a very big crowd. "I have a backache, a headache, so we'll probably lay low with the crowd noise."
Prediction: Siena 77, UAlbany 71 (My combined record this year is 10-3)
Labels: Alex Franklin, College Basketball, Kenny Hasbrouck, Siena, UAlbany, Will Brown