Trips to North Carolina and Northwestern highlight a nonconference schedule for Fairfield that also includes five home games. (Photo courtesy of Big Apple Buckets)
Despite their recent showings near the bottom of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, one aspect of Fairfield's efforts that cannot be overlooked is a willingness to take on the nation's best teams year in and year out, testing the Stags early before league play begins.
Last season, Fairfield faced eventual national champion Duke in their second game of the year, and Wednesday afternoon released a nonconference schedule whose marquee date features the Stags visiting Tobacco Road again this November, this time against potential preseason No. 1 North Carolina.
"I believe we have accomplished our goal of putting together a quality nonconference schedule that will challenge our student-athletes night in and night out," said head coach Sydney Johnson. "Playing teams from six different conferences adds to the overall experience."
Before the Stags meet the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on November 15, they begin their season as they always do, as part of the Connecticut 6 two days prior. This year's edition, to be played on the campus of Central Connecticut State University, will match Fairfield up with Yale, a contender to win the Ivy League this season. On November 18, the Stags will take on Northwestern in a preliminary round game that encompasses the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, tipping off at Welsh-Ryan Arena against Chris Collins and the Wildcats.
Fairfield's home opener takes place on Saturday, November 21, against in-state rival Sacred Heart, the fourth contest in the first nine days of the season, and one that also begins a stretch of five out of seven non-league games held at Webster Bank Arena. One of the two road games immediately follows, against Maryland Eastern-Shore on November 24. The Stags return to Bridgeport on the day after Thanksgiving to commence a three-game homestand against another Ivy League favorite in Kyle Smith's Columbia Lions, who regain the services of Alex Rosenberg to join a loaded roster led by all-conference guard Maodo Lo.
Following the opening weekend of conference play and a hiatus for final exams, Fairfield takes the floor again on December 18, hosting Wagner before former MAAC rival Loyola comes to town on December 22 for the first time since the Greyhounds joined the Patriot League in 2013. The Stags travel to the Sojka Pavilion for their final game of 2015, returning the favor against Bucknell on December 27, and conclude their non-league slate on January 4, 2016, when Dartmouth makes their way to Bridgeport.
2015-16 Fairfield Stags Nonconference Schedule
Friday, November 13: vs. Yale (Connecticut 6, New Britain, Conn.)
Sunday, November 15: at North Carolina (CBE Hall of Fame Classic)
Wednesday, November 18: at Northwestern (CBE Hall of Fame Classic)
Saturday, November 21: vs. Sacred Heart
Tuesday, November 24: at Maryland-Eastern Shore
Friday, November 27: vs. Columbia
Friday, December 18: vs. Wagner
Tuesday, December 22: vs. Loyola (Md.)
Sunday, December 27: at Bucknell
Monday, January 4, 2016: vs. Dartmouth