Saint Peter's (9-20) vs. Fairfield (17-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 8, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: MassMutual Center (7,552) -- Springfield, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: Saint Peter's 5-8, Fairfield 7-5. Away Record: Saint Peter's 4-11, Fairfield 7-9. Neutral Record: Saint Peter's 0-1, Fairfield 3-0. Conference Record: Saint Peter's 3-15, Fairfield 9-9. Series Record: Fairfield leads, 52-49.
GAME NOTES: For the fourth time in the history of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament, the Saint Peter's Peacocks and the Fairfield Stags meet, this time in the first round of the 32nd annual event at the MassMutual Center in Springfield on Friday night.
Saint Peter's has won this tourney a total of three times and has a record of 28-29 in the event overall as it tries to play above its No. 10 seed this time around.
As for the Stags, the seventh seed this year, they too have taken home the trophy on three occasions, but the team has not celebrated a successful ending to the tourney since 1997, which is why it is also below .500 (25-29) in the postseason event over the years.
The Stags won both meetings against Saint Peter's during the regular season, which means the all-time series now stands at 52-49 in favor of Fairfield.
The winner of this contest will be back in action on Saturday versus second- seeded Rider in the quarterfinals.
Since the start of the new calendar year the Peacocks, winners of the 2011 tournament title, have won a total of three games, one of those coming outside of conference versus Hampton and another being an overtime affair versus Marist, so there really isn't much for Saint Peter's to be cheering about these days. The squad failed to put a single player on any one of the three All-MAAC squads and rightfully so since leading scorer Desi Washington (14.7 ppg) only scored his points while shooting a disappointing 37.2 percent from the field. Yvon Raymond (10.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg) had his moments, when he wasn't getting into foul trouble.
The Stags, who came up short in the title game against Loyola-Maryland last season, closed out the regular season last Sunday with their third straight defeat, a 73-60 setback against Marist, which means they have to get themselves back in the right frame of mind if they hope to be playing into the weekend. The only player to start every game for Fairfield, Derek Needham earned himself a spot on the All-MAAC Second Team this year thanks to his 14.3 ppg and 100 assists, but scoring points doesn't seem to always be the objective of the Stags as they average just 61.7 ppg and give up a mere 59.6 ppg.
The Peacocks had a lot of trouble generating offense this season and it will not magically appear here when the team needs it most. Fairfield is by no means a juggernaut in the league, but it can certainly muster a win in the early stages of this tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fairfield 68, Saint Peter's 59
03/08 10:33:28 ET