Friday, February 20, 2009

Saints, Panthers and a possible sellout

Siena tips off with Northern Iowa in about 17 hours and it looks like it could potentially be a sellout in downtown Albany, which is good for both programs as the game will also be on ESPN2.

I had a chance to talk with assistant coach Mitch Buonaguro about the game today, while I was waiting to talk to some players and he said he's seen 12 of the Panthers games.

Buonaguro is a master of the scouting report and he's had almost all week to dissect Northern Iowa, not good news for Panthers fans.

Meanwhile, Northern Iowa lost by one point to Drake on Wednesday, had to travel quite a long distance and apparently could be without one of their starters.

Junior guard Ali Farokhmanesh had his thigh drained on Thursday, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, because of an apparent staph infection.

According to the paper, Farokhmanesh, who averages 10.0 points in 29.1 minutes per game, is listed as questionable.

That would be a loss, but this team which currently leads the Missouri Valley Conference, is very balanced.

"They are always right in the game," said Siena coach Fran McCaffery. "Even when they lose, they are right there."

McCaffery said the most impressive thing about the Panthers is the way they've played on the road, where they are 7-3.

The Saints aren't too bad at home though, having won 17 consecutive games, good for the fifth longest streak in the nation, tied with Pittsburgh and Dayton.

Siena sophomore forward Ryan Rossiter said having already won the conference will not change our the Saints prepare for their last three regular season games.

“We know we’ve won the conference, but we’re not going to take anything lightly,” Rossiter said. “We’re just going to keep going out there and playing hard like we’ve done all season.”

Prediction: Siena 74, Northern Iowa 62 (In a contrast of styles, I see Siena's speed to be too much. My record is 20-7)

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