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Siena rises from cellar to penthouse in four years

Resurrecting a Siena program that had sunk to the bottom of the MAAC in 2004-05 was actually not a long process for McCaffery. In his first year, he guided the Saints to a 16-13 finish. Two years later, he had Siena in the NCAA Tournament and beating up on Vanderbilt in the first round.

"Until last year when we won those six straight games toward the end of the season and beat Vanderbilt that's when I saw the talent level that we had," said Hasbrouck.

The 21-point victory over Vanderbilt raised Siena's national profile to a level that put the Saints on par with such highly-regarded mid-major programs as Gonzaga and Xavier. The Saints showed up on national cable TV twice during the 2008-09 regular season " the first time when they traveled to Big East power Pittsburgh in December, and the second time when they hosted Northern Iowa in an ESPN2 BracketBuster game meant to showcase some of the top mid-majors.

The MAAC also helped Siena by putting the Saints in its annual Old Spice Classic tournament last November in Orlando. Though the Saints wound up losing their three games to Tennessee, Wichita State and Oklahoma State, it gave them a taste of what to expect come March.

Siena's tough non-league schedule " which also included a road loss at Kansas " helped the Saints land the No. 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament as it also gave them a lesson on how to deal with adversity. That ability to keep pushing no matter how far down they were was what helped them bounce back from a 12-point deficit to edge Ohio State 74-72 in the opening round.

"Arguably, it was one of our worst performances of the year (offensively), but it showed that we could fight through that and win," said McCaffery.

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