LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. – Siena Basketball has been selected as one of eight teams to participate in the 2016 CBE Hall of Fame Classic in November. The Saints will play four games in four states spanning eight days, traveling to defending NIT Champion George Washington, perennial national power Kansas and defending Big South Tournament Champion UNC Asheville, before concluding against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at the Times Union Center Nov. 23.
“Being a part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic is a great opportunity for Siena, and we are especially grateful for receiving a home game,” said head coach Jimmy Patsos. “This is a tremendous chance to play three teams that competed in the postseason last year, gain exposure, and help us get better and improve as a team. We are looking forward to playing in the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area which serves as the home for a number of our players and is a strong recruiting base for us.”
George Washington, Georgia, Kansas and UAB will serve as host round participants for the 2016 CBE Hall of Fame Classic and will each play two games on their respective campuses, before advancing to the championship rounds at the Sprint Center in Kansas City Nov. 21-22. Joining Siena and the four championship round participants in the eight-team field are Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Furman and UNC Asheville.
Siena opens play in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic at George Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, DC. The Colonials posted a program record 28 wins last season, culminating with the NIT Championship. GW has tallied a record 74 victories over the past three years, advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and the NIT in each of the past two seasons. The Saints have won two of the three all-time meetings against George Washington, including a 94-91 triumph in the most recent matchup between the programs on Dec. 11, 1999 in Washington, DC. The Colonials are led by Patsos’ former Catholic University teammate, roommate and good friend Mike Lonergan.
Siena then travels to Lawrence, Kansas to face defending Big 12 Regular Season and Tournament Champion Kansas on Friday, Nov. 18 at historic Allen Field House where the Jayhawks have sold out their last 243 consecutive games. Kansas finished with a 33-5 record last season, advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament before bowing out to eventual National Champion Villanova. The Jayhawks posted a 17-game winning streak at one juncture last season, and were ranked No. 1 in the nation in either or both the AP Top-25 and/or USA Today Coaches’ Polls for five weeks. Kansas, which has finished in the top-five in the NCAA’s RPI in each of the past seven seasons, returns three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s squad while welcoming in one of the nation’s top recruiting classes headlined by No. 1 rated recruit Josh Jackson. The programs met once previously during Siena’s 2009 MAAC Championship and NCAA Tournament season, with defending National Champion Kansas edging the Saints 91-84 on Jan. 6, 2009 in Lawrence. Siena rallied from an early 20-point deficit to pull within as close as four with just over seven minutes to play.
The Saints and UNC Asheville will meet for the first time ever on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, North Carolina. The Bulldogs tallied a 22-12 record last season and won the Big South Conference Tournament as the No. 4 seed to capture the program’s fourth title and NCAA Tournament appearance. UNC Asheville was the 15-seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament where they lost their opener to No. 2 seed and eventual National Champion Villanova at the Barclays Center.
Siena wraps up play in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic by hosting the Albany Sub-Host Round against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at the Times Union Center. The Golden Lions posted an 8-25 overall record last season, including a 6-12 mark in the SWAC. This will be the first-ever meeting between the programs.
Excitement is high surrounding the 2016-17 Saints which are coming off the program’s most victories in six years in achieving a 10-win improvement from the previous season which was tied for the 12th best nationally. Siena posted a 21-13 overall record including a 13-7 record in the MAAC last season, which culminated with the program being rewarded with its second College Basketball Invitational appearance in three years. The Saints are expected to return their top-five scorers and more than 85% of their scoring, headlined by unanimous First Team All-MAAC selection Brett Bisping, MAAC Defensive Player of the Year Javion Ogunyemi, and MAAC Sixth Player of the Year Nico Clareth who broke the program’s freshman scoring record last season.
Siena’s complete non-conference schedule will be released in the near future. Season tickets are on-sale now and can be purchased by visiting the Siena Fan Relations Office located at the Times Union Center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., by calling (518) 487-2202, online at sienasaints.com/tickets, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2016 CBE Hall of Fame Classic will be the culminating event of college basketball’s Hall of Fame Weekend, which also includes the 11th annual induction ceremony for the National College Basketball Hall of Fame on Nov. 18. For more information on the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, visit www.cbehalloffameclassic.com or follow the event on twitter at @CBEHOFClassic.
About the CBE Hall of Fame Classic
The event is named after the College Basketball Experience, the award-winning and highly interactive college basketball fan facility adjacent to Sprint Center, which also features the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Opened in October 2007, the College Basketball Experience is the nation's only facility that celebrates, in its entirety, the sport of men's collegiate basketball. The tournament, in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), was initially established in 2001 as the Guardians Classic. www.NABC.com
The CBE Hall of Fame Classic is produced by Blue Ridge Sports & Entertainment, Inc. Blue Ridge Sports & Entertainment, Inc. is a sports management firm based in the Shenandoah Valley city of Winchester, Virginia. For more information on Blue Ridge Sports & Entertainment, Inc. please visit www.blueridgesports.com and follow us on Twitter at @BRSEinc.