What: CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Who: Fairfield (19-15) vs. Kent State (20-13).
When/Where: Wednesday, 7 p.m./M.A.C. Center.
Radio: WHLO 640 AM.
Head Coaches: Rob Senderoff, Kent State (41-25, 2nd season); Sydney Johnson, Fairfield (41-30, 2nd season).
Kent State leads 4-1. The Flashes won at Fairfield 72-68 in the second round of the 2011 NIT behind current senior guard Randal Holt, who scored a game-high 22 points. Junior forward Mark Henniger is the only other current member of KSU's roster who played in that game, while Senderoff was an associate head coach at Kent State under Geno Ford that season. Current senior guard Derek Needham led Fairfield with 20 points.
Fairfield will play in the CIT for the third time in the last four years, reaching the tournament semifinals in 2012 and the second round of the tournament in 2010. The Stags own a 4-2 record in their first two appearances in this event. ... The Stags advance to postseason play for the fourth straight season, extending the longest streak in school history. They will also try to win 20 games in a season for the fourth year in a row. ... Fairfield is led by Needham, a 5-foot-11 senior guard who averages a team-best 14.4 points per game. He is a four-time All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection. Maurice Barrow, a 6-5 junior forward, averages nine points per game, while MAAC Co-Rookie of the Year Amadou Sidibe (6-8 forward) leads the team in rebounding (6.1 rpg). ... The Stags' strength is on the defensive end. They play low-scoring games, averaging just 60.3 points per contest, but surrendering only 58.8. They hold opponents to 40.6 percent shooting from the field and 31.6 percent shooting from 3-point range. ... Fairfield earned a 60-57 victory at St. Joseph's in December, and defeated eventual MAAC Tournament champion Iona 66-64 at home. The Stags lost to Manhattan 60-42 in the semifinals of the MAAC tourney.
The Flashes are making their 14th postseason appearance and third trip to the CIT. They reached 20 wins for the 14th time in the past 15 seasons with a 70-68 victory over Buffalo in the third round of the MAC Tournament, then lost to eventual champion Akron 62-59 in the semifinals. Kent State has won eight of its last 10 games and had a six-game winning streak snapped by the Zips.
Senderoff on Fairfield
"They're the best defensive team we've probably played all year. They really do a good job of limiting 3-point attempts. It's gonna be a challenge for us to score. Their guards are really good defensive guards. They can keep you in front and pressure the ball and make it hard for you to get into your offense. They're similar in a lot of ways to Ohio's guards, but they're a significantly better defensive team than Ohio. Needham was their leading scorer as a sophomore when we played against them in the NIT, and he's still their leading scorer this year. They play a lot of guys. Barrow comes off the bench, he was the Sixth Man of the Year in their league, and he's similar to (KSU junior forward Darren Goodson) in a lot of ways. He's a physical, undersized inside-outside type guy. We're gonna have to do a good job on the glass and try to create some turnovers to get out in transition."
n Next: The winner advances in the CIT. The opponent and site of the next matchup is to be determined, and the game will take place either Thursday, Friday or Saturday.
-- Allen Moff