Jimmy Fallon has pledged his support for Siena's basketball team in this year's NCAA tournament. As part of his effort to support the Saints, his show last night featured facts about the college, an ode to coach Fran McCaffery ("he even scores with a woman's name") and the audience intoning "Siena" as if they were blowing one of those horns from the Ricola commericals:

As you would expect, Siena is trying to make the most of Fallon's support. Michelle Kim reports the school sent down a whole truckload of Saints swag to the show yesterday.

A lot of small schools see college basketball -- and the NCAA tournament especially -- as a way to market themselves to wider audiences. Xavier University in Cincinnati -- a school similar to Siena (smaller, Catholic) -- has apparently had success with this approach. As Paul Daugherty wrote for last fall, Xavier has used its basketball program as "a coast-to-coast billboard to attract students and money" (while seemingly not sacrificing academics).

Of course, you don't get the attention if you don't win.


Haha! I love it!

Hilarious! The Roots serenading the coach was awesome!

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