Who Would Win If Siena & UAlbany Played This Year?
The Albany Cup is returning and it should be. Siena College and the University at Albany officially announced the return of the premier Capital Region men's basketball series at a joint press conference Tuesday at 677 Prime in downtown Albany. Both athletic directors have confirmed for months on The Drive with Charlie & Dan that they were working towards an agreement. The three-year deal tips off at the newly renamed MVP Arena next season.
This is a cool non-conference rivalry, despite the coaches dismissing it. They know the importance to their fanbase and that's what matters. Siena and UAlbany met for 17 consecutive seasons in the Albany Cup from 2001-17, after UAlbany transitioned to Division I. Siena holds a 10-7 advantage in the Albany Cup. UAlbany has won 6 of the last 8 games capturing the most recent meeting 74-69 on Dec. 9, 2017. Of the 17 contests, 11 have been decided by single-digits, including three in overtime.
This rivalry goes back prior to World War II. The legendary UAlbany hoops coach Richard 'Doc' Sauers, who won 702 games from 1955-1997 participated in many of those crosstown battles. In all, Siena and UAlbany have met 54 times, with the Saints holding a 30-24 advantage. Siena captured the first-ever meeting between the programs by a score of 52-45 on Jan. 5, 1940 in Albany.
But who would win this year? Just like all of the other battles between these two bedrock collegiate institutions of the Capital Region, it would be close. I would enjoy seeing the match-up of the grad transfers, UAlbany forward Dre Perry vs Siena guard Anthony Gaines. These are two strong players that would be really fun to see on the same floor on opposing sides. I'd also like to watch UAlbany senior guard Jamel Horton going up against Siena grad student guard, Nick Hopkins. Those two would be all over the place and awesome to watch battling it out for the pride of their institution on the line.
I think that UAlbany's win over Boston College was certainly a foundational win for rookie Great Dane head coach Dwayne Killings and his program. However, I believe Carm Maciariello has the Saints further along in his third year at the helm. At the time, it appears he has a more consistent unit operating his game plan. If this game were played this weekend, I'd see this one going down to the wire with Siena edging UAlbany 78-75. Who knows what would really happen but it's fun to think about. I look forward to the real game next season!