The NCAA tournament doesn't have to be in town for a big-time college basketball atmosphere to pop-up in Albany. Eighteen times since 2001, the Siena Saints and the UAlbany Great Danes have matched up in men's basketball, resulting in some of the area's largest crowds of the season. So, why not find the best times and dates to encourage that excitement?

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On Wednesday, Siena and UAlbany's men's basketball programs announced that the Albany Cup game will be held on Sunday, November 26th, at MVP Arena. This will be a Siena home game, as opposed to the neutral site game played at the MVP Arena last November. A weekend game is always great but the Sunday after Thanksgiving is a tough date.

Siena Athletics YouTube.com
Siena Athletics YouTube.com
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Many people are traveling on that Sunday or they have relatives that are leaving that day, making it difficult to plan for an event like the Albany Cup. In addition, the game will compete with week-12 of the NFL schedule, with the New York Giants taking on the New England Patriots at 1pm. So, if you play the game in the afternoon, you will lose a chunk of Giants & Pats fans for sure. If you play the game in the evening, you lose the fans that are wiped out from the Thanksgiving weekend and don't want to go anywhere.

Siena Athletics YouTube.com
Siena Athletics YouTube.com
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Saturday evenings have drawn the best crowds for these games. Last November, nearly 10,000 fans packed the MVP Arena for this match-up. Unfortunately, the crowd size sometimes has little influence on when or where these two programs will agree to play. Restaurants and bars thrive in the downtown area when the game is played on a Saturday night. Often alumni events and fan parties for both schools start in the late afternoon and roll into game time. It doesn't matter which venue the game is played at, the fans, alumni and surrounding businesses lose when the game is scheduled on a Sunday.

Siena Athletics YouTube.com
Siena Athletics YouTube.com
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However, no matter when the game is played, these two programs always provide an intense and competitive contest. It is certainly a game that Capital Region fans should look forward to. Siena will put individual game tickets to this year's Albany Cup at MVP Arena will go on-sale this fall. After a five-year break in the Albany Cup series, Siena overcame a 16-point lead in the second half by the Great Danes to smack UAlbany 75-62, in last year's neutral site game. Siena and UAlbany had previously met for 17 consecutive seasons in the Albany Cup from 2001-17, following the Great Danes' elevation to the Division I level. The Saints hold an 11-7 edge in the Albany Cup, and a 31-24 all-time advantage between the Capital Region rivals dating back to 1940. Even though, it is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, you don't want to miss this game!

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