EDISON, N.J. - (MAAC Media Release) Siena College, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship for the second consecutive year, is expected to win its third league title in 2009-2010, according to the MAAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
The Saints, who posted an overall record of 27-8 and a 16-2 mark in the MAAC, are expected to top the MAAC standings once again this season. Head coach Fran McCaffery, the 2009 The Rock MAAC Coach of the Year, welcomes back four seasoned veterans for the upcoming season in Preseason All-MAAC picks Ronald Moore, Edwin Ubiles, Alex Franklin and Ryan Rossiter.
Picked to give the Saints a run for their money once again is Niagara University. Head coach Joe Mihalich also welcomes back a host of battle-tested performers from last season's NIT program, most notably Preseason First Team selections Bilal Benn and Tyrone Lewis.
Rider University brings back a talented lineup as well behind head coach Tommy Dempsey. Preseason Player of the Year Ryan Thompson along with Preseason All-MAAC Third Team members Mike Ringgold and Novar Gadson look to lead the Broncs to their first MAAC Championship crown.
Fairfield University advanced to the semifinals of the MAAC Championship for the first time since 2005. Look for the coaching expertise of head coach Ed Cooley to have the Stags back in contention this season. Seniors Anthony Johnson and Greg Nero, as well as juniors Warren Edney and Yorel Hawkins, will help lead Fairfield to the top of the MAAC standings.
Loyola University Maryland and Saint Peter's College figure to make some noise en route to the top of the MAAC standings. Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos has a talented trio of perimeter players - Brett Harvey, Jamal Barney and Brian Rudolph - back in the fold, as well as sophomore center Shane Walker ready to make an immediate impact for the Greyhounds. Saint Peter's head coach John Dunne should be well prepared to make a run this season behind the play of juniors Ryan Bacon, Nick Leon and Wesley Jenkins.
Canisius College, Manhattan College, Iona College and Marist College make up picks seven through 10, and are all capable of unseating any one of the top five teams as they vie for the MAAC regular season title this season.