#CBI14 Championship Central: Siena at Fresno State (Monday at 10 p.m.)

Rob Poole and the Saints are two wins from a Championship

March 30, 2014

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OFFICIAL HASHTAGS:#CBI14, #MadnessStartsHere, #SienaSaints, #Patsos, #MAACHoops

Siena's surprising run to the CBI Championship Series continues Monday night in Fresno, Calif. when the Saints square off with Fresno State of the Mountain West in a game that will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network at 10 p.m. Eastern.

It's the first game in a best-of-three series that continues Wednesday night at the ARC in Loudonville.

The Saints and Bulldogs will be two of just 12 teams left playing Division I basketball when they take the court Monday night.

Here's five things to know about Fresno State:

Fresno State has reached the championships of a postseason tournament for the first time since 1983 and second time in school history.
Fresno State is making its first postseason appearance since 2007 (NIT).
Fresno State is the last Mountain West team still in postseason play. They are 13-5 in home games and have four players averaging double figures.
Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry will be coaching his 100th game with the Bulldogs on Monday night in the CBI championships opener.
Fresno State is 19-13 all-time in postseason tournament games.

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Here's five things you need to know about Siena:

1) Siena is 16-11 all-time in national postseason tournament play. The Saints are making their 12th postseason appearances as a Division I program - six previous trips to the NCAA Tournament (1989, 1999, 2002 and 2008-10) and five NIT appearances (1988, 1991, 1994, 2000 and 2003).
2) Siena has won seven of its last eight games and has gone 16-10 since starting the season 2-7.
3) Brett Bisping has averaged 16.3 points and 10.3 rebounds in the CBI. Bisping had his second straight double-double in the semifinal win over Illinois State, posting a game-high 20 points and 13 rebounds. Bisping leads the Saints with 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds over the last 16 games. He averaged just 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds as a freshman last season.
4) Siena has allowed an average of just 52 points per game in its three CBI games. Opponents are shooting just 32% from the field and 23% from three-point range against the Saints in the CBI. The Saints are 9-0 when holding opponents to 59 points or fewer this season.
5) This is the first time Siena has advanced to the Championship of a national postseason Tournament since turning Division I in 1976-77. Siena won the National Catholic Invitational in 1950 and advanced to the semifinals of the NIT in 1994.
6) Siena has had the lead in the final 10 minutes of regulation in each of the last 16 games (11-5). 10 of the last 14 games have been one possession games in the final 1:10 of regulation. Two of the team's five losses over that stretch came in overtime, and a third came when the Saints blew a four-point lead with seven seconds left at Marist.
7) This is the longest season in Siena basketball history. The Saints have never played a game in April - the latest game ever played (before Monday night) was the 1994 NIT Third Place game on March 30. Siena's November 8 opener with UAlbany marked the earliest game the program had ever played.
8) Rob Poole became just the 17th Saint to reach the 500-point plateau in a season during the Penn State win. Poole was named to the MAAC Third Team and is averaging 15 points per game in the CBI.
9) Ryan Oliver is the first Saint ever from California. Oliver, who spent some time as a child actor, reached double figures for the fourth time in the last 12 games in Siena's semifinal win over Illinois State after doing that just once in the first 39 games of his career.
10) Freshmen Lavon Long and Marquis Wright were each named to the MAAC All-Rookie team. It's the first time Siena has had multiple players on the All-Rookie team since its inception in 2002. Long scored a career-high 17 points in Siena's quarterfinal win over Penn State.