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Siena Guest Blogger - Tipoff Open Thread

We've got an interesting matchup tonight with Siena at 7:00 pm. The Saints were the previous coaching job of Paul Hewitt so the somewhat random matchup with a small New York university is not quite so random. Siena is the second of eleven 2009 NCAA tournament teams left on the schedule for Tech (the other 10 are Dayton (L), Southern Cal, BC, Duke, UNC, UT-Chattanooga, Clemson, FSU, Wake, & Maryland). Siena is 4-2 with losses to St. John's and Temple Matt and Ryan of the Siena Saints Blog answered some questions for us. Here are our responses to their questions and here are their responses to our questions:

1. Can y'all give us a quick summary of Siena? What's the school known for academically? Are there any famous alum?
Siena is a small school just north of Albany, NY. The school is a Liberal Arts school that has a strong business school. Siena has produced notable alumni in the sports world such as Matt Brady (JMU Coach), and John Lannan, current ace of the Washington Nationals. Siena is known as a good academic school, ranked 121 by USNews for the 2010 academic year. However, everyone in the capital region knows Siena for it's prestige as a Basketball program.

2. Most Tech fans know very little about Hewitt's coaching tenure at Siena. If you don't mind giving us a little history lesson on his time there, that'd be great. Did Hewitt build your program up to what is now a pretty solid state of affairs? What's his legacy there?
Paul Hewitt coached Siena from the 97-98 season through the 99-00 season. He left after the 2000 season to go to GT with a 66-27 record at Siena. His three years included a third place finish in the MAAC, a trip to the NCAAs, and a second round run into the NIT in his final year. Hewitt is a good example of what happens to coaches when they are successful at this level-- the mid major level, they move on up. Siena is often looked at as a stepping stone, and there is always constant fear come years end that the coach might leave. Fran signed an 8 year deal this past offseason, so it seems his future is secure at Siena.

3. Tech's team is loaded in the front court and incredibly green in the back court. How does Siena matchup with Tech's future NBA ballers at low post? How is Siena's guard play particularly beyond the arc?
It's no secret, Siena has not been shooting the ball well from 3 this season. Last year's 6 Man of the Conference, Clarence Jackson is now starting at the 2, and we don't have a bench threat to replace him. Ryan Rossiter, our Junior Center, has been Siena's most productive player this season. Not only is he currently averaging a Double Double per contest, he's so smart with denying the basketball, anticipating the pass, and he runs the floor extremely well. He's able to tire out his opponent with his endurance and ability to get down the court quickly. Alex Franklyn is our PF, and is both very athletic, and has great elevation. Our PG Ronald Moore (you may remember him as the hero of last year's first round Siena - Ohio State game) is a player to watch out for-- his speed and knowledge of the game is way beyond his age. He's without a doubt one of the best PGs in the country.

4. What is the goal for this season's Siena squad? Titles? Tournament bid? Tournament seeding?
Same goal every year. MAAC Title, NCAA Second Round, I think a lot of people expect our experience to push us to the Sweet 16, but we'll see.

5. Tech has a bitter rivalry with the University of Georgia. The rivalry extends unhealthily beyond the sports realm but beating UGA in athletics is particularly pleasing. Who is Siena's arch-nemesis? Who do y'all circle on the schedule every season as a benchmark for your season?
Siena's arch-nemesis has got to be Niagara. Niagara is always a team that plays Siena so tough and really swiped away the title from Siena in Fran McCaffery's second season (2006-07). Though they have dominated Niagara lately, it's always a hard fought, high scoring physical contest.

6. From The Rumble Seat bloggers have a particular attachment to Georgia Tech's mascot, the Ramblin' Wreck. What's the story behind Siena's Saint Bernard (a much more unique and attractive choice than our neighbors 70 miles to the East)?
Not sure I have a good answer for this one, although I agree it is more attractive than a Bulldog, and it can dance. :)

Let us know your thoughts about the season and the game. Looks like no television but can be listened to over the internet or XM 190.