Final Four Squads Auburn, Michigan State Headline Ultra-Competitive Eight-Team Field
LOUDONVILLE, NY – As Siena Basketball prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, the Saints learned today that they will be spending Thanksgiving next year in Florida. Siena has been selected to the eight-team field for the prestigious 2020 Orlando Invitational, which will be held Thanksgiving Weekend Nov. 26-29, 2020 at the HP Field House at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
“We’re excited to test ourselves against some of the best in all of college basketball,” said head coach Carmen Maciariello. “When you sign up to be a Saint, it’s for chances like this; to be able to challenge yourself in all that you do. We appreciate the opportunity to compete with the very best.”
Joining Siena in the ultra-competitive field are Auburn, Belmont, Boise State, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Saint Louis, and Xavier. Four teams – third-ranked Michigan State, No. 8 Gonzaga, No. 18 Auburn, and No. 25 Xavier – are ranked in this week’s Associated Press Top-25 Poll. Six of the Saints’ seven potential opponents competed in national postseason tournaments last season including five who made the NCAA Tournament, highlighted by Final Four squads Auburn and Michigan State.
“We’re thrilled to once again be a part of this challenging event,” noted vice president and director of athletics John D’Argenio. “The role the MAAC plays in managing this event – as well as others – shows the conference’s commitment to providing top-notch opportunities to its members to advance their basketball programs. I would like to thank our coaches and players for wanting to take on this challenge.”
The 2020 Orlando Invitational will mark the 15th annual installment of the Thanksgiving Weekend event, which is sponsored by the MAAC and has featured a league school in the field each year. Previously known as the Old Spice Classic and later the AdvoCare Invitational, the event will feature 12 games over three days (Thursday, Friday, and Sunday), with each team competing in one game per day while advancing through a bracket-tournament format.
“The Orlando Invitational in consistently a first-class tournament experience for student athletes, coaches, and fans,” remarked MAAC Commissioner Rich Ensor. “The MAAC is proud of our continued partnership with ESPN Events to help make the event a success. We are eager to have Siena represent us next November, and look forward to hosting them in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.”
The 2020 Orlando Invitational will mark the third time that Siena has participated in the event. The Saints faced 12th ranked Tennessee, Wichita State, and Oklahoma State in the 2008 Old Spice Classic, and 21st ranked Memphis, Saint Joseph’s, and Purdue in the 2013 Old Spice Classic. Siena will be in search of its first win in the event next year.
The Saints have only previously played four of the schools in the 2020 Orlando Invitational Field, posting a 3-7 overall record. Siena is 2-1 all-time vs. Boise State, 1-4 vs. Xavier, and dropped its only previous meetings with both Gonzaga and Saint Louis. The Saints have never before faced Auburn, Belmont, or Michigan State. Siena played Xavier earlier this month, falling at the then 19th ranked Musketeers 81-63 on Nov. 8 in Cincinnati.
2020 Orlando Invitational travel packages are available for fans, and include resort accommodations at the team hotel, game tickets, theme park tickets, and much more. Visit AnthonyTravel.com/Orlando-Invitational or call 888-632-6951 to make reservations. For additional information, visit www.espnevents.com/orlando-invitational.
Siena returns to action Saturday when the Saints travel to face defending Patriot League Champion Colgate at 2 p.m. in Hamilton, New York.