It has been a rough week for two of upstate New York’s finest college basketball programs. The Siena Saints men, coming off a very disappointing 8-24 regular season finish, hoped to wipe the slate clean and start fresh in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (the MAAC) tournament. If head coach Jimmy Patsos and company were to win out, they would automatically punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. The Siena Saints women’s team won more games than the guys, and they too sought out a conference championship and NCAA tournament win.
Things just didn’t work out the way they wanted, however. The Saints men’s and women’s teams were handed first round exits by Quinnipiac and Marist, respectively. With Siena out of the picture, could the University of Albany men’s and women’s basketball team flip the script and make it out on top?
The Great Danes men’s team, led by head coach Will Brown, came up short at home against Stony Brook. Another decent season, nonetheless, but will most likely compete for an NIT or other postseason tournament instead of the ultimate NCAA men’s basketball tourney. The women couldn’t close the deal on the regular season and lost out on the America East Conference title.
The last real hope for New York sports fans is the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team. Last night, in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference(ACC) tournament, Jim Boeheim’s squad took care of business against Wake Forest, 73-64. The Orange needed a win over six-seeded North Carolina to stir up more conversation on getting into the Big Dance. The Tar Heels were prepared, though, and knocked of Syracuse to advance to the next round.
A rough season for all three upstate New York college basketball teams, no doubt about it. However, there is hope for the future. Siena has a lot of young players who can take their experience from this season and improve upon it. Syracuse still has a Hall of Fame coach in Boeheim leading the charge, and he’ll continue to mold these young men into leaders and competitors in a tough conference. Plus, the fanbases for all these programs are loyal and will continue to support them, win or lose. That’s sportsmanship at its finest.