It looks like college basketball programs of all sorts will be gracing the confines of Madison Square Garden this season.
Iona and Siena will be the latest when the two MAAC rivals play at the Garden on Jan 3, the schools announced in a joint statement on Friday. The game will be part of a doubleheader and will follow an earlier contest between St. John’s and Louisville.
“This game will serve as a great opportunity for our seniors to play at such a historic venue as Madison Square Garden in their last season of college play," Iona coach Tim Cluess said on the school’s website. “We're delighted that Siena and the MAAC have agreed to participate and we're excited to get on the floor and play at the Garden to start the 2012 MAAC portion of our schedule.”
Iona isn’t the only local school that will be playing at the Garden. Stony Brook will play Rutgers as part of the MSG Holiday Festival.
It will be the third time Iona and Siena have played each other at MSG. The two met at the Garden in 1952 and 1953. Iona last played at MSG when it defeated Manhattan in 2009. Siena’s last appearance was against Manhattan in 2001.
"I was elated," Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro said on the Iona website. “It's a tremendous opportunity for our program to play in the world's most famous arena, not only for our team, but our alumni and tremendous fan base. We will certainly relish the fact that (these opportunities) do not come along very often.”