If you are looking for a real good Siena Saints blog head on over to 4GuysinBlazers for some great stuff on the Saints. We're fortunate that Bill, one of the four guys, reached out to us for our thoughts on the Siena game from a Mount perspective. At the same time, we asked a few questions of him, so that we could get a sense of the game from Siena's view. We hope you enjoy.
1. Siena and the Mount have followed similar patterns the last few years, albeit Siena had more success during the up years, but what do the Saints have to do to turn this around this year?
The easy answer is get healthy, but unfortunately no one has any control over that. Siena presently is playing with only 8 scholarship athletes, 4 of whom are freshmen. Going into Saturday's matchup that number might be down to 7. Senior Captain Owen Wignot hit the floor hard while being fouled on a layup attempt 6 minutes into the first half vs Navy and did not return to the game. His status is in question as he was experiencing wooziness following the injury and was being monitored for a concussion.
Aside from injuries and simply developing their young roster, the Saints will stand to gain from a return to a more up-tempo style of play. Last year's squad got bogged down in an offense that centered around dumping the ball inside to MAAC Player of the Year Ryan Rossiter. This was in part because Siena's perimeter shooting was poor and Rossiter was their biggest offensive threat. This year's team features a much more dynamic perimeter game and a great deal more speed. Things looked up in this area during the Navy game.
2. The two teams played quite a game two years in Albany, what do you expect from the game this year?
I certainly hope to not find the Saints trying to scratch back from a 14 pt deficit this time around, and OT with our short bench would not be an ideal situation. I do expect this game to be close. Looking over the rosters i feel the teams are fairly evenly matched. Both teams are playing with shortened benches. Controlling the ball will be the key to this game. The Saints were able to do this vs Navy while St Mary's has had opportunities in this area, time will tell which if any trend continues.
3. What areas does Siena need to improve on from its opener against Navy to have success on Saturday and during the season?
Staying out of foul trouble would be a great place to start. Kyle Downey played the final 10 minutes of Wednesday's game with 4 fouls and OD Anosike sat out most of the first half after picking up 2 quick fouls. With the limited nature of the bench, the team can ill afford to lose anyone because of fouls.
In terms of actual game play the Saints big men need to improve on their free throw shooting, poor might be an understatement in this area.
The Saints also need to work on their rotation when in zone defense. They were beaten in the middle several times in the Navy game.
4. With non-conference games like Georgia Tech, St Bonaventure, Vermont, Fordham and UMASS is there a fear that a trip to Emmitsburg might mean that Siena may not be as focused as necessary?
I don't get the sense from around the program or from fans that there is any fear this trip is a distraction from upcoming opponents. I honestly don't believe the Saints are looking more than one game ahead on the schedule at this point given their roster situation. Each game is being taken as a learning opportunity for the freshmen on the squad, with an expectation to continually improve as the season wears on. Having a road game against an evenly matched opponent provides an opportunity to build confidence before the Saints get into the Georgia Techs and Princetons on the schedule.
5. Mt. St. Mary's head coach Robert Burke was an assistant at Siena under Paul Hewitt? Any real good memories of his time there that we should know about?
Unfortunately I did not live in the Capital District during the Paul Hewitt era, originally a Jersey boy, so i don't have any personal memories of this time in Siena history.
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