Siena Blog Q an A
The guys over at 4guysinblazers.com were kind enough to do a quick Q and A with me this morning about their club. Siena dropped their home opener last night to Vermont and fell to 0-2 in the process. They’ll have a rough turnaround this morning as they likely practice for a few hours (their only real prep of the Bonnies) before getting on a bus and driving to Olean before dinner. Given that Siena will only have one practice and a walkthrough to ready themselves for SBU it would seem Schmidt and company have a big advantage going in but we’ve seen these situations before not pan out (URI traveling on game day last year and hammering SBU at home). Either way, it seems the Siena fan still think they’re going to win Wednesday night….
1. What does Siena HAVE to do to win at Bonaveture on Wednesday?
Simply stated they have to go back to what made them successful down the stretch last season. In order to do that, they first and foremost they have to tighten up defensively. Against Vermont they allowed the ball to get inside too easily and gave up too many easy shots. It will be a tough turnaround playing Monday night and then heading on the road to face the Bonnies. They have to shake off the tough loss and move on.
2. What happened in the 2nd half vs. UMass? How did they get to the line 52 times?
Siena was foul prone for most of last season. They play an aggressive, pressing and trapping style which naturally leads to foul calls. In today’s climate in the NCAA, players and teams have to adjust with the increased emphasis we’ve seen from the officials. Against UMass, even some of the Minutemen fans thought the refs went overboard with the whistle against the Saints but that was not why they lost the game. It was a solid hard-fought effort against a good UMass team, on the road, that went down to the final minute and a couple missed shots by Siena at the end was the difference.
3. What facet of the game on Wednesday concerns you most as a Siena fan?
Leadership. There was high expectations on this team going into the season. A team picked to finish 10th in the MAAC last season that ended up 5th, was picked 2nd this season. Managing those expectations this year is a concern. Siena is a deep team with a lot of guys who can play but they need guys who want to step up to lead and play with the passion and emotion that Coach Patsos is looking for in order to be successful. They will need that to win on Wednesday.
4. How has the culture of the program changed since Patsos took over?
The transformation in just one season has been remarkable. The Saints went from the greatest stretch in program history where they won 3 straight MAAC titles to a very deflating 3 years. Jimmy took the same returning players with some good young talent and in the matter of months turned things around. The renewed excitement and energy around the program is impressive. With that comes expectations and the challenge of continuing to “climb the mountain” as Patsos would say.
5. What your prediction for the outcome Wednesday?
This is a tough one. On one hand I would expect the Saints to bounce back from a tough loss as they did very well last season. I believe Monday’s home loss to Vermont truly was a wake up call based on the players reaction in the locker room. The turnaround will be tough facing a good team in front of a charged up Bonnies crowd. I expect a close game that goes down to the wire with the Franciscan Cup coming back on the bus to Loudonville.