Anytime you notch that first win of the year, it's a big sigh of relief for that head coach or manager. It just is. It's something that you want to get out of the way. Monday night, Siena men's basketball coach Carm Maciariello's team got their first win. It was an important step in Coach Carm's process.

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At the mid-major college basketball level, programs often have the opportunity to play difficult non-conference schedules. Traditionally, some coaches will play a more demanding schedule early, to challenge their student-athletes, in preparation for their conference schedules. Most mid-major Division I programs only have one way to make the NCAA tournament, win your conference tournament. Period.

The arduous situation that evolves from taking on this type of early non-conference schedule is; wins are hard to come by. When you start your season off with #23 ranked St. Bonaventure, the top team in the CAA in Delaware, NCAA tournament teams Yale and Georgetown, as my Long Island family says, "Forget about it!" You can't expect to win any of those games.

This is a successful coach's philosophy and process to winning conference championships, while teaching valuable life lessons. These student-athletes will face other losses in their lives. They will face challenging times and difficult tasks. How will they respond? Championship coaches don't find out in March.

Monday's 72-69 win over Harvard wasn't a dominating victory over a Top 25 program. It was a great win over the team picked second in the Ivy League, coached by one of the most respected guys in the business, Tommy Amaker. That's a great, well earned win. That win is part of Maciariello's process. A process that is structured to win MAAC championships, while developing young men into responsible adults. Nice job Coach Carm and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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