Siena basketball officially crowned MAAC champions

College Sports

LOUDONVILLE, NY – The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced Tuesday that Siena Men’s Basketball has been awarded the 2020 Hercules Tires MAAC Championship trophy and NCAA automatic qualifier. The Saints captured the program’s eighth MAAC Regular Season Championship this year, and were the highest remaining seed following the cancellation of the remainder of the MAAC Tournament on Mar. 12 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The 2020 Hercules Tires MAAC Basketball Championships were officially cancelled on Mar. 12 after the first two-plus days of competition were completed. The top-seed in the MAAC Tournament, Siena defeated No. 9 seed Manhattan 63-49 in quarterfinal action on Mar. 11 to advance to a semifinal contest on Mar. 13. MAAC bylaws state that in the event the championship cannot be completed, the highest remaining seed shall be named the NCAA automatic qualifier.

The MAAC Committee on Athletic Administration decided that Siena should be awarded the 2020 MAAC Championship title and trophy. Shortly after the remainder of the championships had been canceled, the NCAA announced that the men’s basketball tournament scheduled to start the following week had also been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Siena captures the program’s sixth MAAC Tournament Championship, and first since 2010. The Saints’ six MAAC Tournament Championships is second only to Iona’s 12.

“Siena exhibited an outstanding season this year,” stated MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor. “It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t let them try to finish what they set out for at the 2020 Hercules Tires MAAC Men’s Basketball Championships, but the accomplishments that they achieved during the regular season should not be dismissed. The MAAC would like to thank all of its corporate sponsors, including Hercules Tires, for their contributions and efforts supporting this year’s championship.”

Siena enjoyed a remarkable 2019-20 season under the direction of first-year head coach and alumnus Carmen Maciariello ’01. The Saints achieved the program’s 21st 20-win season and first in four years, posting a 20-10 overall mark including a 15-5 ledger in MAAC competition. Predicted to finish sixth according to the MAAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Siena won the MAAC Regular Season Championship outright for the fourth time in program history.

The Saints concluded their 2019-20 campaign on a 10-game winning streak – the third longest in the program’s 79-year history – and will enter next season riding the seventh longest active winning streak nationally. Siena made a 104-spot improvement in the NCAA’s NET rankings, marking the 15th biggest turnaround nationally this season.

Maciariello was the only one of 61 new Division I head coaches this season to win his conference’s regular season championship outright. His 20 victories were tied for the most-ever by a first-year Siena coach. Maciariello piloted the Saints to a perfect 14-0 record at the Times Union Center, as Siena finished as one of just 13 Division I teams nationally to go undefeated at home during the 2019-20 season.

The Saints boasted three All-MAAC selections for their efforts this season, including multiple First Team All-MAAC honorees for just the fifth time in 31 years in Jalen Pickett and Manny Camper. Pickett was also proclaimed the 2019-20 MAAC Player of the Year to headline a laundry list of accomplishments, while Elijah Burns rounded out the Saints’ All-MAAC selections with Second Team recognition.

“In these difficult times, it’s great to be able to celebrate accomplishments,” added Siena College Vice President/Director of Athletics and MAAC Men’s Basketball Committee Chairman John D’Argenio. “I send my heartfelt congratulations to our men’s basketball squad who won their regular season championship and were designated as the MAAC qualifier for the NCAA Tournament. The conference’s athletic directors were supportive of this recognition and personally, as the athletic director at Siena, I’m appreciative of my colleagues for making this decision.”

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