Khalil Richard and Siena will do battle in 12-game non-conference schedule that sees annual game against crosstown rival Albany on hiatus. (Photo by Albany Times Union)
The Jamion Christian era at Siena will begin with a dozen games before Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play beckons in the new calendar year, with perhaps the most recognizable contest for Saints fans over the years now conspicuous by its absence.
The Saints will once again run the gauntlet in non-conference play, taking on three NCAA Tournament teams and a bevy of mid-major contenders through the first two months of the season, but the biggest takeaway from the 12-game ledger that was revealed Thursday morning was that it did not include the annual Albany Cup game, now on hiatus because of a disconnect between both Siena and UAlbany over where the crosstown showdown would be held. Both the Saints and Great Danes programs expressed adamant interest in the rivalry game being played to home crowds in each of their respective venues, and although an accord could not be reached this season, the two schools will continue to negotiate a reprisal of the series in the future.
In the meantime, though, Siena will march on, opening Christian's first season at the helm with the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. The event gives the Saints a pair of road games to begin the year, first against Providence on November 6 before George Washington welcomes Siena to the nation's capital two days later, and two more neutral-site contests at Mohegan Sun Arena against Norfolk State (November 16) and either Stony Brook or Holy Cross (November 17 or 18) while in Connecticut.
The Saints embark upon a two-game homestand from there, first welcoming Lehigh to Times Union Center for a November 21 home opener before hosting Colgate in a second consecutive meeting with a member of the Patriot League on November 24. Siena then hits the road on November 28 to renew the latest installment of a four-year series with Hofstra. Two more games away from Albany await, the first being the Franciscan Cup Series with St. Bonaventure, who opens the doors to Reilly Center on December 5. Robert Morris, whose coach, Andy Toole, was a finalist for the Siena job in 2013 before losing out to Jimmy Patsos, will serve as host opponent for the Saints on December 12.
Two of Siena's final three non-league games will be played out before home crowds, first against reigning Colonial Athletic Association champion College of Charleston on December 18. A journey to Holy Cross (December 22) precedes the last tuneup before MAAC play, a December 29 meeting with Cal Poly.
Siena Non-Conference Schedule (all times TBD)
Tuesday, November 6: at Providence
Thursday, November 8: at George Washington
Friday, November 16: vs. Norfolk State (Hall of Fame Tip-Off, Mohegan Sun Arena)
Saturday, November 17 or Sunday, November 18: vs. Stony Brook or Holy Cross (Hall of Fame Tip-Off, Mohegan Sun Arena)
Wednesday, November 21: vs. Lehigh
Saturday, November 24: vs. Colgate
Wednesday, November 28: at Hofstra
Wednesday, December 5: at St. Bonaventure (Franciscan Cup)
Wednesday, December 12: at Robert Morris
Tuesday, December 18: vs. College of Charleston
Saturday, December 22: at Holy Cross
Saturday, December 29: vs. Cal Poly