MAAC has modest expectations for Siena basketball teams

Siena’s men’s basketball team will again have to surpass their preseason predictions to have a chance of winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The Saints were selected sixth out of 11 teams in the MAAC coaches poll released Tuesday night. The Siena Women were chosen to finish tied for ninth with Canisius.

Siena men’s coach Carmen Maciariello told media day on Monday that he believed the Saints would be chosen between fourth and sixth place.

“I don’t care,” he said. “I think there’s some value in (the pre-season polls) because I always like to know what people think of us, not that I care. It’s good. is a necessary thing that is always done.

Siena graduate forward Jackson Stormo has been selected to the all-MAAC second team.

Iona is the pre-season men’s pick to win the league, receiving 10 first-place votes. Second-placed Manhattan received the other first vote, followed by Rider, Quinnipiac, Fairfield, Siena, Marist, Niagara, Saint Peter’s, league newcomer Mount St. Mary’s and Canisius.

The Saints have been picked sixth or worse in three of Maciariello’s four seasons in charge. The only exception was 2020-21, when they were chosen to finish first and shared the regular season title with Monmouth.

They’ve finished as high or higher than expected every season under him with regular-season titles in 2020 and 2021, followed by a third-place finish last season. However, Siena is still looking to play in its first NCAA tournament since 2010. The tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Siena has been eliminated in the quarterfinals for the past two seasons.

Maciariello said Monday he believes Siena won’t be picked higher than fourth “probably more because so many teams come back a lot, especially Manhattan, Rider, Fairfield, and obviously Iona will always be picked near the top.”

Siena returns two starters, Stormo and sophomore goaltender Jared Billups, from the team that went 15-14 overall and 12-8 in the league last year.

Maciariello said he thought he picked Iona, Manhattan, Rider, and Quinnipiac as his top four. He said he couldn’t remember where he put the Saints.

“I (choose) just what I think are the teams that are going to be our toughest (competition),” he said.

Siena’s women’s selection near the cellar was unsurprising, with the Saints having lost five of their top six goalscorers from a year ago.

“I think there will be nine or ten of us,” Siena women’s coach Jim Jabir said at media day on Tuesday. “That’s where we were put.”

Jabir said he chose Quinnipiac, MAAC’s eternal powerhouse, to win the league. Quinnipiac was chosen as the preseason favorite.

The Siena women hadn’t chosen anyone in the squads of all the pre-season leagues.

The first all-MAAC men’s team consists of Manhattan’s Jose Perez, also named pre-season player of the year, Fairfield’s Supreme Cook, Iona’s Nelly Junior Joseph, Quinnipiac’s Matt Balanc and Rider’s Dwight Murray Jr.

The first all-MAAC women’s team consists of Dee Dee Davis of Manhattan, the pre-season player of the year, Juana Camilion of Iona, Angel Parker of Niagara and Mikala Morris and Mackenzie DeWees of Quinnipiac.

To note: Siena Men’s Basketball received a verbal commitment Tuesday from 6-6 wing Michael Ojo of Moravian Prep in Atlanta. He is the first member of Siena’s recruiting class of 2023. Ojo has a wingspan of 6-9.

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