Mixed feelings watching the Ohio State-Siena matchup in the first round. Ohio State huge and plodding. Siena quick as lightning, slippery, quick hands, great shooters, rebounders. Siena spotted the Buckeyes 11 points, then went to work, theÂ win for Siena all but inevitable, even though two overtimes were required. Based on their treatment of Ohio State, Siena commands a great deal of respect. Rick Pitino is fully aware, having scouted the Saints.
Pitino and his staff have scouted Siena this week because they might see them in the second round on Sunday. He said he’s been impressed with the way the Saints program has evolved since Fran McCaffery became the head coach four years ago.
“I think Siena is sort of like Gonzaga, Xavier. They’re trying to go from a mid-major perception to someone, every year, who goes to the NCAA and not only belongs, but can win. And Siena certainly has the talent to do that, and they’ve done a fabulous job there. They have something that Xavier and Gonzaga have, a tremendous following at home, great facilities, terrific campus, so they have everything to stay at the level and not take a step back.
“I don’t think Siena’s a mid-major, I don’t think Xavier’s a mid-major or Gonzaga, they have major college talent, talent that could play at Louisville, an SEC school, Big East schools. I think they’ve arrived at that point. Same thing with Xavier. Half of their [Xavier’s] roster, we recruited. Siena’s up to that task right now, and you have to give them a lot of credit for doing it at a consistent basis.”
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Political Favorite — Senator Mitch McConnell, the University of Louisville’s No. 1 fan in Washington, D.C. is keeping close tabs on the Cards during the NCAA Tournament. A former Card Game Fan of the Week, the Senator talks about his love for U of L in a feature over on USNews.com.
The current Senate Minority Leader and the former Jefferson County Judge Executive, attends U of L basketball games as often as his schedule permits. He rarely misses a home football game.