Writer: Andy Staples
Game: Siena vs. Vanderbilt
Post time: 10:40 PM
TAMPA, Fla. -- The historic upset might have seemed more historic if anyone actually considered it an upset. Officially speaking, No. 13 seed Siena's 83-62 win Friday against No. 4 seed Vanderbilt, combined with Western Kentucky over Drake and San Diego over Connecticut, helped break an upset record. Since the NCAA began seeding teams in 1979, there have never been more than two wins by teams seeded five or more places lower than their opponents in the same round in the same site.
That changed Friday. But while WKU and San Diego's wins featured the requisite buzzer-beaters to quash runs by the favorites, Siena's win didn't look anything like an upset. It looked -- to use a highly techinical basketball term -- like a butt-whipping.
"I really don't consider it an upset, because I have confidence in my team," said Siena guard Tay Fisher, who scored 19 points and made all six of his three-point attempts. "I knew we could hang with anybody in the country."
The Saints, who played Memphis and Stanford in their pre-conference schedule, played like a favorite from tip-off. Just past the midway point of the first half, they led by 16. The Commodores cut the deficit to 50-43 when Keegan Bell hit a jumper with 13:21 remaining, but the Saints raced away. During breaks, Fisher kept telling his teammates to play as if they trailed, even though they never did. Siena finished with a 14-2 run to complete Vandy's humiliation.
"The only reason anybody considered it an upset," Siena forward Josh Duell said, "was because they were a four seed and we were a 13 seed."
Vanquished Vandy coach Kevin Stallings didn't disagree with Fisher or Duell's logic. "They were the much better team today," Stallings said.