First Four Preview: Fairleigh Dickinson

Fairleigh Dickinson (18-14)

Conference: Northeastern Conference

Tournament history: 0-4 in four appearances

Key players: G Darian Anderson, 6-1, So. (15.4 ppg, 3.6 apg), G/F Earl Potts Jr., 6-6, So. (14.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg), G Marques Townes, 6-4, So. (11.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg), G Stephan Jiggetts, 6-1, So. (11.2 ppg), F Mike Holloway, 6-7, Fr. (9.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg)

Key stat: The Knights force an average of 15.4 turnovers per game.

Could make a tournament run if… it can out-run opponents. The Knights don’t have a lot of size, but they are athletic and have the ability to wear teams down, especially in the transition game with all the turnovers they force.

Will struggle if … the offense gets off to a slow start. Fairleigh Dickinson isn’t strong enough defensively to make up for a sluggish start on the other end, and the team doesn’t have the big-game experience to battle back from a deep hole.

Etc: The Knights entered the NEC tournament as the No. 8 seed but beat Wagner 87-79 in the championship to punch a ticket to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005, an impressive feat for a team that went 3-15 in conference play a year ago. They are one of the youngest teams in college basketball with four sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup, but FDU is buying into whatever third-year coach Greg Herenda is preaching.

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