LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. -- The 2016-17 Siena Basketball schedule has been released. The 31-game regular season slate features 14 home games, beginning with the season-opener on Sunday, Nov. 13 vs. Cornell at the Times Union Center. Eleven of Siena's home contests will be played on either a Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
Of Siena's 31 regular season contests, 15 will be played against programs which competed in national postseason tournaments last season, including five vs. teams that played in the NCAA Tournament. Nine of the Saints' 11 non-conference matchups feature 2016 postseason teams, including eight against teams which won 20 or more games, and six who captured either their conference's regular season and/or tournament championships.
Following the season-opener against the Big Red, Siena will participate in four games in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, which was previously announced in July. The Saints travel to defending NIT Champion George Washington (Nov. 15), perennial national power and 2016 Elite Eight squad Kansas (Nov. 18) and reigning Big South Champion UNC Asheville (Nov. 20), before returning home to host Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 23 in the event finale.
Siena concludes the opening month with its annual rivalry games featuring the Albany Cup, at crosstown rival and 2016 CBI participant UAlbany (Nov. 27), and the Franciscan Cup, at 2016 A-10 co-Regular Season Champion and NIT team St. Bonaventure (Nov. 30). The Saints have won 10 of the 15 meetings against UAlbany since the rivalry was rekindled at the Division I level in 2001, including a 78-70 triumph at the Times Union Center last season. This year's matchup will be held at SEFCU Arena, marking the first time that the contest has been played on Albany's campus since Dec. 29, 1976. Siena and St. Bonaventure meet for the seventh time since the Franciscan Cup was devised by the school's presidents in 2010. The Bonnies won the first three meetings, but the Saints have captured three straight by near identical scores of 72-70, 73-70 and 73-70 in what has become a tightly contested rivalry.
The Saints open December with the annual MAAC weekend, hosting Fairfield at the Times Union Center on Saturday, Dec. 3, before traveling to Rider on Dec. 5. The non-conference portion of Siena's schedule concludes with road contests at defending Atlantic Sun Champion Florida Gulf Coast (Dec. 9) and at reigning CAA Regular Season Champion and NIT participant Hofstra (Dec. 22), and home matchups vs. 2016 Patriot League Regular Season Champion and NIT team Bucknell (Dec. 17) and CBI participant Vermont (Dec. 29). The Saints' contest at Florida Gulf Coast will be one of two non-conference road doubleheaders played with the Siena women's team, with the Albany Cup matchup being the other.
The Siena-Bucknell game will be played at noon on Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Glens Falls Civic Center in nearby Glens Falls, as the teams were unable to find an available date at the Times Union Center that worked for both sides. The Bucknell game will be included in the season ticket package, with season ticket holders able to enjoy seats similar to their location at the Times Union Center. Season ticket holders who choose not to attend the Bucknell game will receive additional tickets equal to the number of season tickets included in their account to either the Cornell, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, or Vermont games, or can receive a prorated refund.
Siena will ring in 2017 with its annual Western New York trip to Canisius (Jan. 2) and Niagara (Jan. 4), before hosting Saint Peter's in its first game of the New Year Jan. 7. The month concludes with the Saints hosting defending MAAC Tournament Champion Iona in a rematch of last year's conference semifinals on Jan. 27. The teams will wrap up their regular season series in New Rochelle 11 days later (Feb. 7).
Siena closes out the regular season by playing four of its final five games within the friendly confines of the Times Union Center, prior to once again hosting the MAAC Tournament in March. The Saints host defending regular season champion Monmouth in the first matchup of the season between the teams on Feb. 13 and then face Manhattan (Feb. 16) and Niagara (Feb. 18) to conclude the five-day, three-game homestand. The lone road contest during the stretch is at the Hawks on Feb. 24, before the Saints return to the Capital Region to host rival Marist to conclude the regular season with Senior Day on Sunday, Feb. 26.
For the third consecutive year, Siena will serve along with the Times Union Center as the proud hosts of the 2017 MAAC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships Mar. 2-6. The Saints have previously hosted the Tournament 17 times in their first 27 seasons in the league, and the MAAC announced in June that the Times Union Center will remain the home for the event through 2019.
2016-17 Siena Basketball season tickets are available now, and can be purchased by calling the Siena Fan Relations Management Center at (518) 487-2202, online at sienasaints.com/tickets, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by stopping by the fan relations office located at the Times Union Center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. -- 4:30 p.m. Individual game tickets will go on sale to the general public on Oct. 10.
Excitement is high entering the 2016-17 season for a Siena Basketball program which is 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 return their top-five scorers from that squad, while also welcoming six student athletes who will don the Green and Gold for the first time this winter.