The Fairfield University men’s basketball team, coached by Sydney Johnson, faces its sternest test of the young season in last year’s powerful N.C.A.A. champion University of Louisville, coached by Hall of Famer Rick Pitino, this Saturday, November 23, at Mohegan Sun Arena in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip Off.
Tip off for the hard-running Stags against the high flying Cardinals is at 2:00 PM in Uncasville, CT. North Carolina plays Richmond in the opener of the first session (Naismith bracket) with a 12:00 noon tip off to launch the exciting twinbill.
“It is both an honor and challenge to play Louisville as the defending national champions and a Top 5 team in the polls,” says Johnson. “Their athleticism, defensive intensity and basketball IQ are as high as any team in the country.
“The thrill that we have is to play a huge game like this in our home state,” added Johnson. “Normally, mid major programs have to go on the road to have an opportunity to play high major programs. To have Louisville playing Fairfield in Connecticut is terrific for our students, alumni and fans throughout Connecticut.”
The Stags are led by New York local products, senior forward Maurice Barrow (Queens/Christ the King) and sophomore co-captain Amadou Sidibe (Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Hayes).
The Gilbert brothers, Pittsburgh transfer, the junior center Malcolm Gilbert, who joins his brother, sophomore forward Marcus Gilbert, in the Fairfield lineup this season, also anchor the squad. Both are Smyrna, Delaware, products out of the Academy of New Church.
In Session 2 (Springfield Bracket), it’s Hofstra vs. Hartford at 5:30 PM, and Holy Cross vs. Belmont in the nightcap at 7:30 PM.
Sunday’s (November 24) tip offs are 1:00 PM for the Naismith Bracket Championship (3:30 PM Consolation Game); and 8:00 PM for the Springfield Bracket Championship (6:00 PM Consolation Game).