Monday, January 28, 2008

First Place Foxes..with Rider,Siena

The battle for the MAAC regular season championship is heating up as the Marist Red Foxes, following Sundays beat down of Canisius, are in a 3-way tie for 1st place along with Rider and Siena. All three teams are boasting a conference best 8-3 record at the moment, but the top should be a little less crowded by the end of next week.

There is no better time for the Red Foxes to make their case in the MAAC then right now. Facing Rider on Wednesday at McCann( where they are still unbeaten this season) and Siena for a home and home (Times Union on Monday and McCann on Friday), the Red Foxes are hitting stride for the harder portion of their schedule at the right time. Winners of 8 of their last 9, the Foxes are playing better basketball then anyone could have expected in the 'post-Jordan' era that has 9 new comers this season.

Sunday's beat down of weak Canisius saw the Red Foxes flex their muscles the way they have been during this winning streak. On the Offensive end the Foxes had 4 players score in double figures, featuring another solid performance from freshman Jay Gavin (MAAC rookie of the week, 5th time) and a breakout performance from my man Ryan Schiender (PoJo player of the game) who had a double-double off the bench. The Defense was again shut down, as the Red Foxes allowed only 44 points, their second lowest since 1985.

Siena is Ready

The boys up in Albany say they are ready for next weeks big battle(s) between the two MAAC rivals, first at Times Union on Monday then back at McCann on Friday. Last weeks Times Union Siena hoops blog is apparently doing their homework on Red Fox Nation reporting on this writers previous entry titled "We Want Siena."

Marist students: “We want Siena!”
January 24, 2008 at 1:37 pm by Pete Iorizzo, Staff writer

The Marist students have spoken.

According to an item in the Poughkeepsie Journal blog, Marist students chanted “We want Siena” as the Red Foxes completed an 84-65 rout of Niagara on Monday.

The Saints enter tonight’s game against Loyola in first place in the MAAC, one game ahead of Marist and Rider.

The Saints and Red Foxes meet Feb. 4 in Albany and again Feb. 8 in Poughkeepsie, which figures to deliver one of the best college-basketball atmospheres you’ll see in the MAAC all season.

True. The energy at McCann is by far the most electric and intimidating atmosphere in the MAAC....part of the reason the Red Foxes are undefeated at home. The Feb. 8 match-up will hold true to this, it is an ESPNU game and is a "white-out McCann" game.

After being crushed and embarrassed by Loyola 85-65 the Siena Saints put up another poor performance against weak Iona, where they trailed at halftime and barley scraped away with a win. Against Loyola the Saints look flat-out out of it, shooting a season low 29 % from the field while looking undisciplined throughout.

Against Rider earlier in the season the Red Foxes came away with a thrilling one-point victory beating the Broncos 81-80 on a Ryan 'Steady' Stilphen 3-point play.

Prediction: The Red Foxes stay hot at home and win vs Rider on Wednesday in a dog fight. However, a home-and-home with Siena will be tough to sweep, and the Red Foxes will split, losing in Albany and winning yet another home game in what should be a thriller at McCann.

With Rider and Siena facing off on Saturday the picture in the MAAC should be a lot clearly come next week. Next weeks standings:
Rider 10-3 Marist 10-3 Siena 9-4

Stay Tuned....


Anonymous said...

Marist will be hard pressed to win against Rider at Home, without McCroskey the Red Foxes margin for error is razor thin. Marist will have to be careful with Siena, if Marist tries to run with Siena the Saints will blow the Foxes out of the gym ( see what happened to Niagara when they tried to run with Siena) Siena will win homes games against Rider and Marist and take control of the conference by this time next week

Jon White said...

You are is tough to beat a team twice, especially one as good as Rider. While losing McCroskey doesn’t help, I think home court advantage is HUGE in the NCAA (see what happened when Niagara played at McCann or when Siena played at Loyola).

I'm not taking anything away from Siena. I still think they are the team to beat. But while Marist is more athletic overall then last year...I agree that an up-tempo game works out as a Saints advantage. They have a great team with a lot of talent. Look what they did to a team like Stanford and my buddy Taj Finger at the beginning of the season.

However…. the key to a Red Fox win will be to slow the game down and control it through their half-court set. I think they are a much smarter basketball team then Siena and have learned how to win and close out the close games.

It should be a fun week of MAAC action...

Anonymous said...

Jon- interesting blog and it is obvious you are a Marist fan, but I won't hold that against you- haha. Marist has some talent this year, but let's not forget what happens every year in the MAAC tournament. The atmosphere in the McCann Center is great, but what happens when the Red Foxes hit the road? Do you really think they are a smarter team than Siena? Remember Siena said no to Brady as their head coach. Remember Siena took down Jordan and the Red Foxes in the MAAC Tourney last year and this year the tournament is in our back yard.....Remember Tay Fisher too.....he is Siena's silent weapon that Po-town should be well aware of....good luck to Marist- they will need it.

Jon White said...

thanks anonymous, well I do go to Marist and this IS a Marist Hoops blog.. so I don't think you can hold it against me. What does Siena's athletic dept. saying "no" to Brady have to do with how smart the team plays?

I do remember that Siena took down Jordan and the Red Foxes last year..but I also remember that it was in CT on neutral ground(even tho the Marist student's outnumber Siena's "fan section" 400 plus to around 11).

I'm also aware that the Red Foxes have won in their last 4 trips to Times Union/Pepsi/Knickerbocker or what ever it is these days...and since you guys don't draw, I'm not sure if your 'back yard'realy means anything.

I am looking forward to seeing Fisher play, I have heard good things. But you don't want to get too cocky anonymous, the unpredictable is expected in March.. just ask Niagara.

Anonymous said...

A good week of basketball. Marist is really well coached and plays hard for Coach Brady. Having attended both games, Siena is clearly the more talented team. But I take nothing away from the red foxes they are a darn good team. McCaffery really has Siena set up for a good run over the next few years. Siena only loses Tay Fisher off this years team. The last month of the season is going to be a fun ride.

Jon White said...

Your right, Siena is very young and is set for the next couple years in the MAAC. The Red Foxes gave it there all this week, just fell a little short in the end. I apologize for not keeping up the blog, I was out all week with the flu...