By: Jeff Parles, KCOU Sports
The Patriot League’s Conference Tournament kicks off tonight with 2 games to cut the bracket down from 10 teams to 8 as Army goes to Annapolis to take on Navy and Holy Cross hosts Loyola. This has been a down year for the usually solid Patriot League as Bucknell won the regular season title with just an overall record of 18-13 and currently projected as a 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Since this league started having a tournament in 1991 the champion has only either been the one or two seeds so it awfully difficult to go through this tournament as a low seed. Here are my predictions round by round.
(All games are played at the higher seed’s home court)
#8 Holy Cross v #9 Loyola
The Crusaders beat the Greyhounds just last week in Worcester and like Holy Cross to send Loyola home for the year.
#7 Navy v #10 Army
One of college sports best rivalries is taking place in the opening round of the Patriot League tournament. Army played very well in non-conference play only to finish with a disappointing 6-12 record in conference play. With that said I like the Black Knights to go to Annapolis and beat Navy.
#1 Bucknell v #8 Holy Cross
Holy Cross was actually able to beat Bucknell early in conference play in overtime 65-62, but that was on January 10th. Bucknell has rattled off 11 wins in their last 14 games. Bison will cruise into the semifinals.
#4 Lafayette v #5 Boston University
Last year’s regular season Patriot League champion Boston University has had a year forget as they struggled to a 9-9 conference record with a 13-16 overall record but I think Cedric Hankerson does enough to make the Terriers advance to the semifinals.
Pick: Boston University
#3 Lehigh v #6 American
The Eagles of American won the Patriot League tournament last year between some great defense only to get absolutely walloped by Wisconsin in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament. This year as been extremely disappointing for the preseason frontrunner as American only mustered 8 conference wins. For whatever reason I like the Eagles to go to Bethlehem and beat the Mountain Hawks.
#2 Colgate v #10 Army
Colgate enjoyed an excellent conference slate after struggling in their nonconference schedule this season. They will not struggle against Army, I like Colgate to win big and advance to the semifinals.
#1 Bucknell v #5 Boston University
Bucknell was able to beat Boston University easily in both meetings the schools had this season. I like the third meeting to the same as the first two.
#2 Colgate v #6 American
Colgate and American split their two meetings this season with the home team winning both games. I like the Raiders to win the rubber match thanks their efficiency on offense.
#1 Bucknell v #2 Colgate
The streak will continue where the Patriot League representative will be one of the top two teams from the regular season. The road team won both meetings between the top two teams in the Patriot League as Colgate won a hard fought two-point game in Lewisburg back in January. I like Colgate to win for a second time at Bucknell and make it to their first NCAA Tournament since 1996. (WHO DOESN’T LOVE ADONAL FOYLE!)