An already demanding schedule got even tougher for Siena College on Wednesday.
The Saints announced that they will travel to play national champion Kansas at Allen Field House in Lawrence, Kan., on Jan. 6.
Kansas defeated Memphis, 75-68, to capture its third NCAA tournament title. But the 37-3 Jayhawks lost all five starters, two to graduation, as well as underclassmen Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur to tonight’s NBA draft.
Sherron Collins, a 5-foot-11 guard who will be a junior next season, is the top returning player for the Jayhawks with a scoring average of 9.3 points per game.
This will be the first time that the Saints will play a reigning national champion since they lost to Syracuse, 74-61, during the 2003-04 season.
Siena’s non-conference schedule was already one of its most challenging in recent history. The Saints will play in the Old Spice Classic Nov. 27-30 in Orlando, Fla. That powerhouse field includes Maryland, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Tennessee, Gonzaga and Wichita State.
They will also host NCAA tournament teams Cornell and Boise State at Times Union Center.
“I felt that it was important to challenge this team with the most competitive schedule in our school’s history,” said Siena head coach Fran McCaffery, who took his team on the road to play Memphis last season. “Obviously, with the addition of Kansas, we are well on our way to achieving that goal.
“I’ve coached at Allen Field House before, and feel it is one of the most storied and tradition-rich buildings in America. It will be a great challenge to test our team against the defending naional champions, and I know everyone associated with
Siena basketball is looking forward to it.
“This game, coupled with the challenging schedule we have already put together, will have us well prepared for MAAC play.”
Other strong teams on the
Siena schedule include a game with cross-town rival University at Albany, a yet-to-be-determined ESPNU BracketBusters opponent, a road game at NCAA tournament participant St. Joseph’s, a matchup with UBuffalo and another road game against what Siena officials are calling “another high-profile” opponent.
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