CIT 1st Round: Yale heads to Fairfield

Greg Mangano leads the Bulldogs into the CIT against Fairfield before heading off to the Portsmouth Invitational in April. (Photo Credit:

The Bulldogs finished the Ivy League season in disappointing fashion, meekly dropping their final games against Princeton and then Penn. Fortunately for Yale fans, Yale’s body of work as a whole (19-9, 102 RPI) was good enough to allow them a shot at redemption. Having made it through a selection committee that for some reason included Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson, Yale will travel to Fairfield at 7 PM on Wednesday night to take on the Stags in the Postseason Tournament. The Bulldogs will be just the second Ivy League team to compete in the tournament in its four-year history (the first to play in the new 32-team field, up from 24 in 2011 and 16 the two previous years) and

the first since Jeremy Lin’s Crimson went one-and-done in 2010.

Fairfield, who finished 4th in the MAAC, is anticipated to be a tough opponent for Yale, and despite Yale’s

superior RPI, Vegas has the Stags as a 9-point favorite on Wednesday night. Fairfield is led by the prowess of their backcourt, particular by that of MAAC first-team senior wing Rakim Sanders, who averaged an impressive 16.8 ppg and 8.3 rpg this season. And while Yale’s frontcourt

appears to have an advantage on paper—Mangano’s 18.2 ppg surpassed the ppg total of Fairfield’s frontcourt total combined and Yale outrebounded Fairfield 37.4 to 33.7 on average—Fairfield does have a true 7-footer in senior Ryan Olander. It will be interesting to see how Mangano deals with Olander—both on the glass and offensively—and whether he will look to create a presence down low or whether he will instead shy away from contact and drift to the 3-point line, as he’s been prone to do at times.

The Stags” most impressive results this year were their 85-75 win over NCAA at-large Iona, their 68-51 win over tournament-bound-via-MAAC-tournament-victory Loyola-Maryland, their 72-60 victory over Quinnipiac (whom the Bulldogs lost to), and their 79-71 loss to UConn. Apart from Fairfield”s victory over Quinnipiac, their only mutual opponent with the Bulldogs was Holy Cross, whom they beat handily by 21 points (Yale won by 15).

Due to the fact that the tournament adheres to the old NIT format, future opponents won’t be determined until the conclusion of the previous round. Regardless, the second round is set to begin March 16 and run through March 18.

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