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Siena Saints vs. UMass Minutemen Basketball: Season Opener Preview

Derek Kellogg and UMass open up their 2014-2015 campaign with a visit from the Siena Saints.

Who's your Cady?
Who's your Cady?
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The basketball version of the Mullins Center will open its gates at 7 pm tonight for the first time this season. The Massachusetts Minutemen welcome the Siena Saints all the way from the MAAC.

UMass will employ the starting five of Cady Lalanne, Maxie Esho, Seth Berger, Derrick Gordon, and Trey Davis all of which started in the preseason. Jabarie Hinds will be the first man off the bench and Zach Coleman should be next.

The Siena Saints will be a good first test for the Minutemen. They were picked to finish second in their conference and return their core from last year. Their center and shot blocker Imoh Silas is out after suffering an ACL injury but the Saints still have plenty of talent left.

Two players to keep your eye on for Siena are Rob Poole and Brett Bisping. Poole returns as the leading scorer, averaigng 14.5 per game last season. Gordon will most likely match up with him defensively so that should be an excellent match-up to watch. Bisping is a good all-around forward as he scored 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Adding in over 50 percent shooting he will also be a point of emphasis for the UMass defense. Point guard Marquis Wright should also be on your radar.

For UMass all eyes will be on Derrick Gordon as he is not only one of the most talented players on the roster but also the most popular. Four players are expected to make their debuts tonight. Jabarie Hinds, Zach Coleman, Donte Clack, and CJ Anderson should all see some floor action.

It is still unclear how Kellogg will use his bench and what the rotations will look like. He has said that he wants the Minutemen to get back to being one of the higher scoring teams in the nation. Having a deep rotation so players can stay fresh may be a plan Kellogg uses, at least early on.

Starting off in a 0-1 hole would not be ideal for UMass and with the football team coming off a win against Ball State on Wednesday the fans would love to see the ball keep rolling.