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Matt Norlander

Welcome to The Dance, Siena Saints

The Dagger

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Chances are you know Siena. It's now the third straight year the Saints will be playing in the NCAAs, and they've won their first-round game the past two seasons. A lot of people are down on Siena this year despite the fact the group returns the entire core that's won two tournament games in as many years. If you want to get on the Saints' bandwagon again this year (no team was more chic-y in '09 than these guys), beware. Siena lost to every tournament team it played in 2009-10. But if you want to take the flip side of that, consider Davidson in 2008. That season, the Wildcats played against just as many tournament teams - and lost to every single one. How did they respond? By letting Stephen Curry's hot hand lead them to the Elite Eight. Siena has no shooter like Curry, but it's got a better composite five than Davidson had that season.

Player to know: Man, maybe the toughest team of all for this part. Alex Franklin won the Player of the Year in the MAAC, but Ronald Moore, Ryan Rossiter and Edwin Ubiles made the MAAC All-Tournament team. We're going to go with Ubiles, a 6-6 senior, who many consider to be the take-it-over guy when Siena needs it most. But Siena's starting five is as versatile and capable as just about any group in the country. That's no joke, folks.

The Vitals:

»Record: 27-6, 17-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic
»Team colors: green and gold
»We're thinking: an 11-seed
»KenPom ranking: 60
»RPI: 37
»Best win: @ Fairfield (22-10)
»Worst loss: @ Northern Iowa (28-4)
»Notable stat: Defensively, no team has a better free throw/field goal attempt ratio in the country. It's one of those newfangled tempo-free stats that a lot of the world hasn't caught onto, so you'll just have to trust us when we say Siena has done a great job improving its overall defense this year.
»Most recent tournament history (six total appearances):
-2009 (9-seed): W first round over Ohio State, 74-72 (OT); L second round to No. 1 Louisville, 79-72.
-2008 (13-seed): W first round over Vanderbilt, 83-62; L second round to No. 4 Villanova, 84-72.

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