The CollegeInsiders.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) committee announced late Sunday night that the Canisius men’s basketball team will play at Stamford in a first-round CIT game on Tuesday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m., in Birmingham, Alabama.
Canisius (18-15, 10-10 MAAC) will play in the national postseason for the fourth time in the last five years. The Griffs have made a run to the CIT quarterfinals twice in the previous three postseason appearances, most recently in 2015, where the team eventually lost to NJIT in the round of eight after earning wins over Dartmouth and Bowling Green. Canisius hosted a first-round game in 2014 and lost to VMI, and the team advanced to the 2013 CIT quarterfinal round with wins over Elon and Youngstown State before falling at home to Evansville. The 2013 CIT berth was the program’s first national postseason appearance since 1996.
Four Canisius players average in double-figures for the Blue and Gold, which ranks third in the MAAC in scoring average at 78.5 points per game. Junior forward Jermaine Crumpton, an All-MAAC Third-Team selection, leads the team with his 16.1 points per game, while fellow junior Kassius Robertson, an All-MAAC Second-Team choice, is next with 15.9 points per outing. Senior Phil Valenti posts 13.9 points per game and leads the squad with 5.8 rebounds per contest, while senior Kiefer Douse chips in 11.1 points per game. The Griffs are coming off a 61-58 loss to Saint Peter’s in the 2017 MAAC Basketball Championship quarterfinal round March 3.
Samford (19-15) will be playing in the postseason for the first time in 17 years. The Bulldogs' last two appearances in postseason play occurred in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 1999 and 2000. At 19-15, Samford, a member of the Southern Conference, is in the midst of its best season in 11 years, dating back to the 2005-06 season. The Bulldogs have also achieved their first winning record in 11 years.
The Bulldogs average 79.4 points per game, with four players averaging in double-figures in the scoring column. Junior Demetrius Denzel-Dyson leads the way with a team-high 16.1 points per game, while sophomore Wyatt Walker is good for 12.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per outing. Samford is coached by Scott Padgett, the former collegiate standout at the University of Kentucky, NCAA champion and first-round NBA draft pick.
The 2017 CIT will broadcast live on Facebook.
At least 28 CIT games will be broadcast exclusively through Facebook Live, including all first round, second round and quarterfinal matchups. This enables the CIT to bring the excitement of postseason basketball to Facebook's global community of sports fans, which includes more than 650 million people connected to at least one sports Page on the platform.