Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hometown Hoops: Siena Style

After we sobered up enough from our wine tasting at the Pride of New York Harvest Fest, we were able to make the short walk from the Empire State Plaza Convention Center to the Times Union Center.  The Siena men's basketball team was playing Vermont in their season opener and Brett was covering the game for his blog, Hometown Hoops.

A smaller version of Memphis' Fed Ex Forum, the TUC can fit about 15,500 for sporting events.  The building opened in 1990 and the inaugural performance was by ol' Frank Sinatra himself!  Today, you'll find concerts, wrestling events and even the Albany Devils hockey team playing here.

Siena's crowd filled the stands as the Saints kicked off their first home game of the season...and the pressure was on!  The team had 38 straight wins on their home court, the nation's second longest home court winning streak. The college competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and made it to the NCAA Tournament in '89 and more recently in '08 and '09.  And no, Mr. Ed you probably haven't heard of them...they weren't present at the famous 1994 Tournament when the Arkansas Razorbacks rocked it all.

Are they playing?
As members of the working press, we had seats on the front row of the bleachers.  Good idea in theory.  Unfortunately, Siena & the Times Union Center must have great marketing departments, because they had sold out three rows of folding chair floor seating in front of us.  Filled with very tall people.  They even had tables with waitress service behind the baskets.  Guess who was literally feet from the floor and couldn't see a thing??

Get in the game.
Fortunately, the center court jumbo-tron camera had a great point-of-view, but when the scoreboard and clock stopped working in the first half, we weren't real sure who was winning.  The fans had no doubt as the second half got underway...down South we'd call a game like that a "real barn burner" as Vermont pulled away with the win, and the the home court success streak, 80-76.

Brett thinks the Saints will have a better season than their how their first game went, Heather is just hoping for better seats.

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