RTC Conference Primers: #28 – Patriot League

Posted by Brian Goodman on October 7th, 2010

Kevin Doyle is the RTC correspondent for The Patriot League.


Predicted Order of Finish

  1. Bucknell (10-4)
  2. Lafayette (9-5)
  3. Holy Cross (8-6)
  4. American (8-6)
  5. Lehigh (8-6)
  6. Colgate (5-9)
  7. Navy (5-9)
  8. Army (3-11)

All-Conference Team (key stats from last season in parentheses)

  • CJ McCollum (G) – Lehigh (18.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.3 apg)
  • Jordan Sugars (G) –  Navy (15.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg)
  • Jared Mintz (F) – Lafayette (14.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
  • Andrew Keister (F) – Holy Cross (10.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg)
  • Vlad Moldoveanu (C) – American (19.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.1 apg)

Sixth Man

  • Devin Brown (G) - Holy Cross (13.2 ppg, 45.4 3pt%)

Impact Newcomer

  • Troy Brewer (G) – American (transferred from Georgia)

Navy's Jordan Sugars is ready for another big season in the fiercely competitive Patriot League.

What You Need to Know

  • Gone are the days where Bucknell and Holy Cross had supremacy against the six other members of the Patriot League. In three years ranging from the 2004-05 season to the 2006-07 season, the Bison and Crusaders compiled a gaudy 74-10 record in Patriot League action. In this span, Bucknell garnered two NCAA Tournament wins (Kansas and Arkansas), while Holy Cross had an NIT victory (Notre Dame). Times have changed, however, as storied coaches Pat Flannery (Bucknell) and Ralph Willard (Holy Cross) have moved on to other endeavors. Since then, the Patriot League has become one of the most competitive leagues in the country in terms of balance within the conference. Jeff Jones at American hit the lottery with a dominant backcourt in Garrison Carr and Derrick Mercer, who nearly pulled off a dramatic upset of Villanova two years ago, and Lehigh saw freshman sensation CJ McCollum carry them all the way to a Patriot League title just a year ago. In the 2010-11 campaign, however, it is anyone’s guess as to whom will be standing atop the pedestal come year’s end. Lafayette and Bucknell have the most talent coming back, American has Player of the Year candidate Vlad Moldoveanu playing for the entire season (he missed the fall semester last year), Lehigh has McCollum back after his rookie season that saw him dominate Patriot League competition by averaging 23 points per contest, and Holy Cross returns a boatload of talent, but will be playing under their third coach in three years.

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East Region Game by Game Previews – 1st Round (pt. 1)

Posted by rtmsf on March 18th, 2009

EAST REGION PREVIEW (By Dave Zeitlin and Steve Moore)

Since there seem to be more than a few obvious picks in the East Region, RTC gives you the bonus coverage you’ve come to expect. Not only do we pick the first-round game – but we also pit a non-basketball alum from each school against each other in a no-holds-barred blog battle. Enjoy.

Thursday Games – Philadelphia, PA

(3) Villanova vs. (14) American (7:20 ET)

SM: Picking a 14 over a 3 is the cool bracket thing to do. Not here. The ‘Nova players could roll out of their dormitory beds, take the train into town and still dismantle the best the Patriot League has to offer. Outside of the 1-16 games, this may be the biggest lock of the first round.

DZ: Yes, an American win would definitely be one of the biggest shockers of the tournament, considering ‘Nova will virtually be playing at home and hasn’t lost to a team with a Pomeroy ranking less than 28 all season. That said, I don’t think the game will be a blowout. Standout Garrison Carr (17.8) leads a senior-laden American team that is on a 13-game winning streak and is returning to the Dance for a second straight year. ‘Nova by 12.

Alumni ThrowdownMaria Bello (Villanova) vs. Goldie Hawn (American): SM: No contest. The Cooler is a highly underrated film. Although, William H. Macy? Really?  DZ: What the hell is a Maria Bello? Maybe I need to see The Cooler. Also, Goldie Hawn scares me here. I think I’ll pass on this one.

(6) UCLA vs. (11) VCU (9:50 ET)

SM: Ever since Seth Davis said he’d “put on a VCU sweatshirt” while falling all over the Rams during Sunday’s selection show, VCU has been a trendy upset pick. Well, count me in. Larry Sanders not only has a great TV show under his belt, but his arms are long enough to give Rick Majerus a real hug. UCLA doesn’t want to be in Philly, and Eric Maynor makes sure the Bruins head home early.

DZ: Maynor might be the most well-known little-known player in this year’s Dance after his shot sent home Duke in ’07, but can we expect him to do it again with a different supporting cast? That’s a lot to ask, especially when the opponent is a UCLA team that will guard his shorts off. Darren Collison and the Bruins may not make their fourth straight trip to the final four, but they won’t be bounced in the first round. UCLA by 7.

Alumni ThrowdownJack Black (UCLA) vs. The Real Patch Adams (VCU): SM: Dr. Adams helps people on a daily basis, while Black is the brains behind one of the finest albums ever, Tenacious D’s self-titled effort. But because Dr. Adams’s story contributed to the downfall of Robin Williams, the nod goes to Mr. Black. DZ: I hope you realize you just picked a comedian who once said “Dude, if you get the nachos stuck together, that’s one nacho” over someone who brings limitless hope and joy to orphans around the world. That pretty much makes you a bad person … but yeah, I agree. The movie Patch Adams did not leave a lasting impression on me, but I consider Saving Silverman one of the most underrated comedies. Sorry, sick children – Black gets the nod.

Thursday Games – Greensboro, N.C

(7) Texas vs. (10) Minnesota (7:10 ET)

SM: I’m already on record as saying that Texas is overrated and overseeded, so I have to go with the Gophers in this battle of two tourney-tested coaches, Tubby Smith and Rick Barnes. Minnesota posted a long-forgotten win over Louisville back in the fall, and has endured plenty of battles in the underrated Big Ten. Plus, I enjoyed two sub-zero days on campus in Minneapolis back in 2004, and could not have met nicer people. The Mall of America was pretty cool, too.

DZ: While it’s hard to pick Barnes over Tubby, I think Texas will avoid the upset here. The Gophers have really cooled off after a great start, winning only four of their last 11 games. And the Longhorns, while also inconsistent, have two go-to players in guard A.J. Abrams (16.3 ppg) and forward Damion James (15.4 ppg). Eleven straight tourney appearances won’t hurt either. Texas by a bucket.

Alumni ThrowdownMatthew McConaughey (Texas) vs. Tony Dungy (Minnesota): SM: Both have stood on the sidelines at big football games, but only Dungy really belonged there. The all-around good guy Dungy wins this in a landslide. DZ: What a weird matchup. You can’t say anything bad about Dungy, but I don’t dislike McConaughey nearly as much as Stewie from Family Guy. And I respect the fact that he’s essentially played himself in all of his movies, even if it did seem a little odd in We Are Marshall. Either way, I’m going with McConaughey in a major upset.

(2) Duke vs. (15) Binghamton (9:40 ET)

SM: As much as I would like to pick my America East brethren here, I have to believe that Jon Scheyer will get away with enough traveling violations to help his Blue Devils edge the Bearcats. Seriously though, D.J. Rivera is a great player (even if not a great student), but he can’t beat the McDonald’s All-Americans Coach K brings deep off the bench. Blue Devils run away late for a 15-point win.

DZ: I would love, love, love to see Binghamton keep it close – if only for my oldest friend who’s making the trip to Greensboro to see his alma mater. But I don’t see it happening. Duke is bound for a deep run after a couple of early exits, and Coach K will pick apart an athletic but undisciplined Binghamton team making its first trip to the Dance. This one could get ugly … Duke by a bunch.

Alumni ThrowdownRichard Nixon (Duke) vs. Billy Baldwin (Binghamton): SM: Be honest, you expected BU’s most famous alum, Tony Kornheiser. But we throw curveballs here at RTC. Baldwin has had a less-than stellar film career, but I mean, even a Baldwin can beat Richard Nixon in this bracket. DZ: What is this? Neither of us were alive for the Nixon presidency and I can’t remember ever thinking about Billy Baldwin once. Umm … I’ll shake things up and go with Nixon, only because I liked Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon and because Baldwin is a Yankees fan. Wait, weren’t we supposed to be talking about basketball?

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NCAA Preview: American Eagles

Posted by nvr1983 on March 17th, 2009

American University (#14, East, Philadelphia pod)
vs Villanova (#3)
Thur, 3/19 at 7:20 PM
Vegas Line:  +16.5

General Profile
Location: Washington, DC
Conference: Patriot League, automatic bid
Coach: Jeff Jones, 149-120
08-09 Record: 24-7, 13-1
Last 12 Games: 12-0; 13-game winning streak
Best Win: Manhattan (60-48 on 12/29 on the road)
Worst Loss: George Washington (63-50 on 12/17 on the road)
Off. Efficiency Rating: 104.3, 118th nationally
Def. Efficiency Rating: 98.6, 124th nationally

Nuts ‘n Bolts
Star Player(s): Garrison Carr (17.8 PPG) & Derrick Mercer (11.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 4.4 APG)
Unsung Hero: Brian Gilmore (12.4 PPG and 5.4 RPG)
Potential NBA Draft Pick(s): N/A
Key Injuries: N/A
Depth: 21.4% (328th nationally); the bench accounts for 21.4% of the team’s total minutes
Achilles Heel: Free throw shooting (64.8% as a team)
Will Make a Deep Run if…: Dante Cunningham and Scottie Reynolds get in foul trouble. Realistically they might have had a chance if the NCAA hadn’t given their opponent a home game. They would have a better shot being a #15 seed playing a #2.
Will Make an Early Exit if…: Villanova doesn’t get lost on the way to the arena in its hometown.

NCAA History
Last Year Invited: 2008; Lost to Tennessee in the 1st round
Streak: 1 year
Best NCAA Finish: 2008; 1st round
Historical Performance vs. Seed (1985-present): -0.04; on average, they win 0.04 less games than expected based on their seeding each year they make the NCAA tournament

Other
Distance to First Round Site: 137 miles
School’s Claim to Fame: According to The Princeton Review, they are the most politically active campus in the nation (not surprising because of their location). According to PETA, they are also the most vegan-friendly campus. They have dry dorms.
School Wishes It Could Forget: Outside of its choice of name (now known for being those cheap stores in the mall with everything 70% off all the time)?  See the last two sentences (above). Any time PETA likes you, it’s not something to be proud of.
Prediction: American is a fine team but they’ve drawn a buzz saw — Villanova basically at home.  Obviously an upset of major proportions if AU could pull it off…but I wouldn’t count on it.
Major RTC stories: Patriot League Wrapup & Tourney Preview

Preview written by Rush the Court.

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ATB: Just Another Manic Friday

Posted by rtmsf on March 14th, 2009

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Overview.  What a day.  By our count, there were eleven conference tournament games today that went down to the final minute where either team had a realistic shot to win.  We’re proud to say that we saw most of those games and recorded it for all posterity over at our daily journal of hoopsography, Boom Goes the Dynamite.  So without rehashing everything that we transcribed over there, let’s take a look at some of the key storylines that we’re keeping an eye on going into Championship Saturday.

Get Your Voodoo Dolls Out.  These are the teams that Bubble Nation despises right now because these are the guys still standing in their conference tourneys that are in position to take away ‘their’ much-more-deserving spot in the field of 65.  So if you’re a fan of one of the below teams and you feel a prickly feeling tomorrow in your thigh emanating from Omaha, Las Cruces, Gainesville, Providence, et al, you’ll know why.

  • USC. The Trojans entered the Pac-10 Tourney in nobody’s field of 65.  With good reason, they faltered down the stretch, losing six of their last nine and looking listless throughout much of the season.  And now, after defeating crosstown rival UCLA tonight, they’re 40 minutes away from an automatic bid playing a team in their hometown whom they split with on the season.
  • Temple/Duquesne.  The A10 has already guaranteed that somebody will be disappointed on Sunday because neither of these two teams were on anybody’s board either.  Temple was at least in the conversation, but Duquesne has come out of nowhere, upsetting Dayton today to sit one game away from an auto-bid.
  • Baylor. We discussed Baylor a little today in the BGTD, but obviously with a 5-11 Big 12 record, they’re not anywhere near the bubble.  Yet, they’ll play Missouri tomorrow for an automatic bid, and given how they seem to have their mojo back after a major half-season swoon, we wouldn’t be surprised to crown Baylor as this year’s Georgia tomorrow in Oklahoma City.
  • San Diego St. Well, at least SDSU is already on the bubble.  Their hard-fought win over BYU tonight ensured that they too will have a chance tomorrow to take the decision out of the NCAA Selection Cmte’s hands.  The Aztecs split their two games with Utah, who was already ensured a bid either way.  SDSU will feel the wrath of Bubble Nation on them tomorrow.
  • Mississippi St./Auburn – MSU defeated South Carolina and Auburn beat Florida today to move into the semifinals of the SEC Tournament, which means that half of the SEC semifinalists are teams that probably aren’t going to get in without an auto-bid.  The SEC is so muddled that either of these teams can beat LSU or Tennessee (respectively) and get a shot on Sunday for the guaranteed invite.
  • Maryland – This one is less likely considering that Maryland will probably have to beat Duke and Carolina to win the auto-bid, but merely beating Duke would move the Terps from bubble to lock status.  The voodoo dolls have a lot of work to do tomorrow.

Championship Saturday.  Twelve automatic bids will be earned tomorrow.  Her’e’s a brief primer on each.

  • America East – (6) UMBC @ (1) Binghamton.  UMBC got pounded at Binghamton a couple of weeks ago, and the Bearcats have 12 of 13 coming into tomorrow.  We’d expect Tony Kornheiser to be a happy man tomorrow, celebrating Binghamton’s first ever trip to the NCAAs.
  • Atlantic 10 – (7) Duquesne vs. (4) Temple.  Just like last season, Temple is coming on strong at the end of the year, having won 9 of 11 coming into this game.  Temple defeated Duquesne in their only meeting in Pittsburgh earlier this year, and we expect to see the same in AC tomorrow.
  • Big 12 – (3) Missouri vs. (9) Baylor.  Baylor has won three in a row for the first time since December, and we’ve noticed that they have some of their swagger back this weekend.  As well as Mizzou has played this year, Baylor has more “big game” postseason experience, so we’re going with the Bears in the upset here.
  • Big East – (6) Syracuse vs. (1) Louisville.  For the Cuse’s sake, they’d better hope they lose tomorrow night.  The last time they had a great BE Tourney run like this in 2006, Texas A&M ran them off the court in their first round NCAA game because they had nothing left in the tank.  We think that SU’s tired legs catch up to them and Louisville gets a #1 seed with tomorrow’s Big East title.
  • Big West – (3) Pacific vs. (1) CS-Northridge.  These two teams are essentially even, but Pacific beat CSN twice already this year, and it’s difficult to beat a team three times, so we’ll go with Northridge.
  • Conference USA – (2) Tulsa vs. (1) Memphis.  Yeah, we’re going to go against the team that’s won sixty league games in a row.  Playing at home.  Sure.
  • MAC – (5) Akron vs. (3) Buffalo.  These two teams knocked off the top two seeds today in the semifinal round, and they split during the regular season.  We like Buffalo because they darn near beat UConn back in December.  That’s as good a reason as any.
  • MEAC – (3) Norfolk St. vs. (1) Morgan St. Todd Bozeman’s Morgan crew is the class of this conference and will earn its first NCAA bid tomorrow.
  • Mountain West – (4) San Diego St. vs. (2) Utah.  The Utes comfortable beat SDSU at home, but the Aztecs are playing with a purpose right now.  Tossup game, but we like Utah to eke one out in Vegas.
  • Pac-10 – (6) USC vs. (4) Arizona St. USC has looked like a different team in this conference tournament so far, with Demar DeRozan suddenly playing the superstar he was projected to be.  We like the hometown team here stealing an NCAA spot from someone else.
  • SWAC – (2) Jackson St. vs. (1) Alabama St. Jackson St. is the hotter team, having won 13 of their last 14, including a win a few weeks ago against ASU.
  • WAC – (1) Utah St. @ (2) Nevada. This should be an excellent game – the prohibitive favorite playing essentially a road game for the automatic bid.  They split their games with each team winning at home, and we think Nevada will ride its home crowd to another win here.  The question is whether Utah St. at 29-5 (16-3) would be an at-large?  Answer: probably.

A Few Other Thoughts.

  • ACC – The call that gave the victory to Carolina was yet another late-game example of the ACC powers-that-be protecting their own, and we don’t know what BC was thinking when they decided to shoot a 28-footer to beat Duke instead of driving to the rim.  Maryland has had a nice run, but it will end tomorrow.  Duke-Carolina Part 3 is imminent on Sunday.
  • Big Ten – Ohio St. will probably hang with Michigan St. for a while, but ultimately will fold.  The Purdue-Illinois game should be really good, though.  Illinois took both prior games but Robbie Hummell missed the last one.  We like Purdue to pull off a close one here.
  • SEC – Auburn is one of the hottest teams around now, having won nine of its last ten games.  We like the Tigers to outlast Tennessee tomorrow to face LSU in the finals on Sunday.

Finally, Welcome American to the Dance…  (15 down, 50 to go…).

#15 – American (24-7, 13-1).  American earned its second consecutive trip to the NCAAs with its easy win today over Holy Cross, 73-57.  Jeff Jones’ squad got 24 from star guard and Tourney MVP Garrison Carr, but it was their defense that once again shut down a conference foe (holding HC to 32% shooting).

Projected Seed: #15

Something to Remember: American got bombed by Oklahoma, Georgetown and Maryland this year, but it’s their defense that should have high seeds concerned.  They have the 24th best defensive efficiency, but they likely don’t have enough offense to run with the big dogs unless they catch a really poor offensive team on an off night.

On Tap Tomorrow.   Be sure to check in with us tomorrow, as we’ll be back with BGTD all day, covering the dozen auto-bids plus the four other conferences that don’t finish up until Sunday.  The three games that have us most excited on Championship Saturday?  Louisville-Syracuse, Illinois-Purdue and Utah St.-Nevada.  See you then.

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Checking in on the… Patriot League

Posted by rtmsf on February 6th, 2009

Marty Leon is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League.

Leon’s Leads - Tom Brennan to Georgia !!!  The Current ESPN Hoop analyst and Georgia Alum could bring his Vermont Magic to Athens.

Rush the Courts Ten Reasons Why Tom Brennan Could Coach Georgia !!

  1. Graduate and former player.
  2. Great Recruiter.
  3. Will demand academic performance of players.
  4. Players coach.
  5. Turned losing Vermont team into nationally respected program.
  6. Terrific at promoting University.
  7. Never takes himself to seriously.
  8. People of Georgia would love him.
  9. Beat Syracuse.
  10. Would be a great addition to homecoming festivities.

Holy Cross Getting It Done

At 6-1 in the league, Holy Cross has  proven they are for real and the top contender to take the title away from American. Freshmen R.J Evans has been awesome, averaging 13 ppg and second in the league in steals. The guard from Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut has been rookie of the week SEVEN times!!  Andrew Keister has helped carry the load, leading the Patriot in field goal percentage and seventh in rebounding. Ralph Willard has done a great job regrouping his team after a rocky injury plagued start to the season.

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Checking in on the… Patriot League

Posted by rtmsf on January 10th, 2009

Marty Leon is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League.

American and Lehigh Collide in Conference Opener

The tension starts right away in the Patriot League on Saturday as defending champion and pre season favorite American University, host 10-4 Lehigh, in a battle of two of the leagues best.  American has momentum, riding a three game winning streak, all games in which they dominated their opponents, and won by double digit margins. Garrison Carr has led the way for Jeff Jones’ five averaging 18.4 ppg.,second best in the conference, while Brian Gilmore covers the board getting over 6 a game. American is playing like the team we thought they would be after a slow start. This does not bode well for the rest of the conference.

Lehigh just saw a five game winning streak end with a loss to an improving Princeton team.The Mountain Hawks are off to a tremendous start at 10-4 ,a school record for non league wins. Marquis Hall and Zahir Carrington are both top ten in the Patriot in scoring and rebounding.  This game will be a classic,and a sure showcase of the rest of the season as to how low scoring close games are the Patriot way.

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Checking in on the… Patriot League

Posted by rtmsf on December 1st, 2008

Marty Leon is the RTC correspondent for the Patriot League.

Patriot League Report Card

  1. American, 4-1, Grade B-. Had a bad blowout loss to Oklahoma when hoping to challenge them. Barely beat Stonybrook, though had a good win against Jacksonville. Not in first gear yet. 
  2. Navy, 4-1, Grade B.  Thrilling triple overtime win against William and Mary. Have taken care of business, except for 18 point loss to Towson. Right on schedule. Read the rest of this entry »
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Friday, March 21st: Update #1

Posted by nvr1983 on March 21st, 2008

- It looks like Bruce Pearl’s Volunteers haven’t shown up for the tournament yet. It’s 59-53 with 2:13 left. American is riding a big game from Garrison Carr’s 24 pts. It looks like Tennessee is pulling away now, but it should be an interesting finish.

- Gonzaga is up 71-70 against Davidson with 4:30 left. Stephen Curry is having a huge game with 34 pts. This looks like it is going down to the wire. Should be an exciting finish? We are enjoying Billy Packer having to sit/suffer through this.

- It looks like Western Kentucky and Miami (FL) are in control. We’ll update you if those games get interesting.

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