Albany and Siena, after months of wrangling, came to an agreement in June on the future of the Albany Cup event. They agreed to a home-and-home for three years, starting and ending at Siena’s Times Union Center and playing the second game at SEFCU Arena for the first time. The rivalry will enter its 15th season in Division I when the two square off on Dec. 12.
Make no mistake that this game matters to not only the fans and coaches, but also the players in it. The atmosphere of the game is different than a typical non-conference game, which helps add to the spectacle.
“It’s an outstanding atmosphere to play in,” Siena junior Brett Bisping said. “It’s always very competitive and I know I look forward to it every year and I’m pretty sure everyone else does too.”
Albany senior Peter Hooley said his dad is flying from Australia to make sure he sees Hooley’s final Albany Cup game.
“I do love playing the game, I think it’s great for the Capital Region where it’s played at doesn’t really bother me too much, I guess I could say that since we’ve won the last three there since I’ve been playing,” Hooley said. “I think it’s great for our school to be able to have this here and I’m sure that it’s going to be a huge spectacle when it comes here.”
While Hooley looks forward to getting his fourth win, Siena junior Marquis Wright will be seeking his first when the two schools meet in December.
“My last two years we lost, so I’m really looking forward to getting two wins in my next two years against them,” Wright said. “I feel like that’s a rival game that Siena wants to win and we haven’t yet, so I just feel like it is important to get that win this year.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.