July 18, 2013
One of the first comments from Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos about the schedule that his Saints will play before the MAAC slate begins was that it will be one of the toughest schedules in the nation. With an uptempo style that will instantly become a fan favorite, Patsos has left no stone unturned in trying to find games that will not only test his new team, but also help them develop in the process while remaining competitive going into the conference portion of the ledger.
With four true freshmen on the roster, along with Coppin State transfer Patrick Cole, Patsos welcomes five newcomers to the Siena program just months after replacing Mitch Buonaguro on the heels of an eight-win season, and the colorful head coach has already put his own stamp on the Siena roster, blending a group of highly regarded recruits with a returning core led by guards Rob Poole and Evan Hymes in the hopes of bringing the first MAAC championship to Loudonville since Fran McCaffery won his third straight in 2010. As we have already done for both Hofstra, who faces Siena on December 23rd, and the Saints' MAAC rival Manhattan, we will once again break down the first tests for Siena, with quotes and insights from the always-engaging Patsos, who was gracious enough to give us 27 minutes of his time in what became the second-longest interview in our four-plus-year history, (only Bobby Gonzalez, with whom we spoke for 35 minutes at Big East media day in 2009, went longer on time) along the way:
Patsos' thoughts on the schedule overall:
"I've been around, I helped Gary (Williams) schedule at Maryland, I scheduled at Loyola. I'm doing the quick math: MAAC, road games, Old Spice, strength of schedule out of conference, I'd be surprised if it's not one of the toughest ones in the country. We have the toughest schedule Siena's had in a long, long time, but I'm going to stay positive, because what matters is the MAAC and the three games in March. Everybody knows mid-majors want a second bid, and the only way to get a second bid is to play some good teams. You can't have cupcakes and get a second bid, we all know that."