Siena basketball sees MAAC schedule take shape

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The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which includes Siena, will begin men’s and women’s basketball league play the week of Dec. 6, league officials confirmed Tuesday.

The MAAC presidents on Monday approved a model which calls for men’s basketball to play league games on Tuesday and Friday and the women to play on Wednesday and Saturday to allow enough time for testing for COVID-19 between contests.

The MAAC is still waiting for the NCAA Division I council to vote Wednesday on when the regular-season should begin, which could be anywhere  from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25, based on national reports.  The MAAC will allow teams to play non-league games from that date through Dec. 6 and also on a non-conference window on Dec. 22 & 23.

The MAAC is planning on a 20-game league schedule to be played at home sites with five or six non-conference games. The week of Feb. 23 will be left open in case any games need to be made up because of COVID-19 postponements. The MAAC Tournament will be played at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City March 9 to 13, as scheduled.

The details were first reported by Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

“I like it,” said Siena athletic director John D’Argenio, who was on the MAAC scheduling working group. “Look, I think there’s compromises throughout it. Certainly, you’d  like to play more non-conferenc games and you’d like to have fans right through the get-go. Two of our guiding principles were safety for both players and coaches  and making the league schedule a priority both regular season and postseason. So I think this does that. It spaces the games out. It gives us opportunities to make up games if there’s interrupted play.  It allows us to do testing. So I think it’s a good plan.”

The MAAC plans for no fans at games through at least Dec. 23, though MAAC commissioner Rich Ensor said that’s subject to change based on state regulations.

“If we can’t have fans, we’ll be playing on campus (instead of Times Union Center),” D’Argenio said.

Ensor said the MAAC schedule will come out next week.

“It’s a balancing act we’re doing here,” Ensor said.

Ensore said the league considered playing the  MAAC schedule in a bubble at Times Union Center or in Atlantic City.

“We just don’t have those resources, and frankly, teams prefer to do it on their own places and do their own non-conference games so they don’t want to get involved with bubbles, per se,” Ensor said.

Siena was supposed to open against Colgate on Nov. 10 at Times Union Center. That almost certainly won’t happen, and D’Argenio also said the team’s appearance in the Orlando Invitational Nov. 26 to 29 also seems very unlikely because Florida is on New York’s travel-advisory list and the team would have to quarantine for two weeks upon returning to campus.

Siena will look to adjust its non-conference schedule, including a possible appearance in a bubble tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut in December.



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