By Nick Veronica
Canisius vs. Fairfield, 2 p.m., Koessler Athletic Center
Canisius: 18-10, 12-5 MAAC, 8-3 home. RPI: 101. Streak: Lost one, three of five.
Fairfield Stags: 6-22, 3-14 MAAC, 2-11 road. RPI: 288. Streak: Won one.
What’s at stake: Canisius dropped to fourth place in the conference standings with Thursday’s loss to Quinnipiac but can get back into a tie for third with a win today. That opportunity comes thanks to Siena, which upset Manhattan Friday night in Albany, 67-63.
Finishing third in the conference is greatly preferred to finishing fourth because of MAAC Tournament pairings – the top three seeds open the tournament against a team that had to win play-in game the night before, while the fourth- and fifth-place teams open against each other.
Home finale: Saturday’s game also marks the final home game of the season, aka the last chance for people in Buffalo to see Billy Baron play (unless Canisius hosts a CollegeInsider.com Tournament game, which I wouldn’t count out). It’s also Senior Day for the Griffs; Chris Manhertz, Jordan Heath, Chris Perez and Baron will be honored before the game (don’t listen to the roster on ESPN, Jordan Heath is a senior).
(I should also note that the media guide prominently mentions the ceremony will take place before the game, which differs from last year, when coach Jim Baron wanted the ceremony to be after the game … which turned into a mess after the Griffs lost to Rider.)
About Fairfield: I thought long and hard before writing this section as I tried to name Fairfield players who contributed to the team both this year and last year. After Maurice Barrow, I couldn’t think of anyone. Then I looked at their roster and realized he’s the only senior on the team and one of three upperclassmen. And lately, he’s been coming off the bench.
Barrow still leads the team in points per game but these are truly some new-look Stags. Marcus Gilbert and K.J. Rose are the new young leaders of the team, coming in at first and second in minutes per game and second and third in points. Thursday’s win against Niagara may have only been Fairfield’s third of 2014, but these Stags are just young enough not to know they shouldn’t be messing with anyone’s seeding for the tournament. I like the Griffs in this one but Fairfield could pull an upset if they’re taken lightly.
What the Griffs need to show: Continue reading