It’s trout season, baseball season, short pants and no jacket season, and yet two winter college teams are still playing, albeit in parallel universes light years apart.
One is enjoying The Season That Lives On, and the other resides in Bizarro World, experiencing The Season That Would Not Die.
That would be the Siena Saints men’s basketball team, which didn’t even bother to show up to its campus gym on Wednesday night and subsequently got creamed by Fresno State, 89-75, a misleading score if ever there was one.
While the Union hockey team cools its heels waiting for the Frozen Four next weekend, Siena is sweating out a three-game series to win something called the College Basketball Invitational.
While the Dutchmen’s Max Novak made No. 1 on “SportsCenter’s Top 10” highlights for his difficult goal against Vermont in the NCAA East Regional, Siena head coach Jimmy Patsos made “Around the Horn” after he sweated huge dark patches through the back of his suitcoat in the Saints’ win at Fresno State on Monday.
It was a year ago today that Siena introduced Patsos as its new coach, and it was all the way back in August that the Saints began this season, in a sense, with an exhibition tour in Canada.
They hit their stride at the end of the season and have maintained it through to the CBI championship series, until Wednesday.
Booking constraints moved the game to the Alumni Recreation Center, where Siena hadn’t played a non-exhibition in 17 years, and it offered the Siena students, who typically take shuttle buses to the Times Union Center, an opportunity to embrace their team like never before.
And they did.
The student end zone was packed, loud and rowdy, randomly bellowing stupid stuff during the anthem, but joining the singer to finish the song at the end.
With a crowd of 3,177, the ARC fell short of a 3,500 sellout; I’m not sure where they were going to put another 300 people.
There are those out there who are fed up hearing about Siena and the CBI, reminding me of Jude Law in “Gladiator” when he tells Russell Crowe, “You simply … won’t … die.”
But none of those people were at the ARC.
Problem was, the Saints came out flat and flat-lined shortly thereafter.
“I don’t think we came out ready to play tonight,” sophomore Brett Bisping said.
Consistent with the rules of Bizarro World, it was the Bulldogs who looked at home, reaching an outrageous 78 percent from the field early in the second half, while the Saints acted like they’d never seen these rims before.
“I’m not shocked by this,” Patsos said. “I warned our team, ‘You now have an angry bulldog with a lot of talent. Be ready for that.’ I didn’t listen when I was a teenager, either, so nobody’s more at fault than me.”
Game time at the ARC on Saturday is, yes, 11:30 a.m. The strangeness continues.