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Friday, January 04, 2008

Albany Times Union - Saints quality foe for Tigers' rating

Saints quality foe for Tigers' rating

By PETE IORIZZO, Staff writer, Albany Times Union
Thursday, January 3, 2008

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Siena might not carry the name recognition of Georgetown or Arizona, Memphis's past two opponents, but John Calipari still believes scheduling the Saints helps his program.

Siena ranked No. 68 in Wednesday evening's RPI, according to That gives the Tigers, No. 1 in the RPI, a quality opponent, even if not a nationally ranked one.

"This was simply an RPI game," Calipari said. "This is a team ... that will beat you if you don't play. But if you play and beat them, it becomes a quality win. We not only want to play the marquee teams, but also teams like this, who are like your first- or second-round opponents in the NCAA Tournament."

Siena benefits from the game financially, because it receives an undisclosed sum, usually five-figures and called a "guarantee," to schedule the game.

But Saints coach Fran McCaffery said his program also improves by playing such high-level competition at this point in the season. Siena begins Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play on Sunday against Saint Peter's.

"You always want to look at the big picture," McCaffery said. "We'll learn how to play a team that's bigger than us, learn to protect the lead if we get one and learn to keep our composure if we get behind. We'll utilize a lot of things and see how we execute against a very high-caliber opponent." Scouts aplenty

There figures to be a number of NBA and professional scouts in attendance tonight, as there are at most Memphis games.

Siena junior guard Kenny Hasbrouck, who often talks about his lifelong dream being a chance to play in the NBA, said he looks forward to showcasing his ability against Memphis players.

"This is a good chance to show how good we are, especially me and (Edwin Ubiles)," Hasbrouck said. "But if we don't win or don't even compete, it can hurt us, too. So we have to be ready."

McCaffery said after the game against Syracuse on Nov. 12 a number of scouts raved about Ubiles, a sophomore forward. So some might be eager to take a second look.

"If Edwin, Kenny and some of the other players want to get looks by the pros," McCaffery said, "they have to do it in situations like this."

TV time for Siena

Tonight's game will air on Time Warner 3, because several local sponsors, including All Star Wine & Spirits, fronted enough money to pick up the feed from Comcast Sports Southeast.

Television, in fact, is one more reason Siena scheduled the game, McCaffery said.

"If we can get our program on television, it's that many more people who can see who we are and get to know our players," McCaffery said.

Eleven of Siena's last 17 regular-season games will be on TV.

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