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Saturday, January 10, 2004

 
Patriot League Pre-Conference Season Prospectus:

Tomorrow (Sat, Jan. 10) brings about the beginning of PATRIOT LEAGUE CONFERENCE PLAY!

{crickets}

As most of you know, I’m an AU Eagles fan, but I’m going to be unbiased as possible, especially when I say this: I have no idea how the Patriot League regular season will go. OK, I do, partly. Army will finish seventh. Navy will finish eighth. But the top 6? Not a clue. For the analysis of the out-of-conference schedules to try to shine some light on conference play, here’s the place (Note: HOME, away, Neutral. RPI as of Monday, January 5th in paranthesis. All data is from collegerpi.com)

Lafayette, 9-4 (105).
Wins: ST. PETER’S (152), LA SALLE (208), drexel (144), CENTENARY (Non-DI), BINGHAMTON (256), LYCOMING (Non-DI), CORNELL (276), princeton (120), columbia (286).
Losses: rutgers (20), usc (63), cs-northridge (157), penn (57).

Analysis: Very bleh. No really impressive wins, no really bad losses. They’ve only got two guys averaging in double digit points in DeBerry and Davis. Yet, they’ll be competitive, as they always seem to be.

Colgate, 7-5 (216).
Wins: cornell (276), ALBANY (306), new hampshire (248), harvard (295), hobart (Non-DI), long beach (273), JUNIATA (Non-DI).
Losses: princeton (120), DREXEL (144), BUFFALO (166), syracuse (38), loyola-marymount (96).

Analysis: Two home losses. Two losses to teams Lafayette beat. Horrible, horrible OOC wins. And yet, they’ve got Linebaugh and Blue, two of the top 7 or 8 players in the Patriot League. I can’t count them out just based on that.

Holy Cross, 6-7 (195).
Wins: BOSTON U (119), HARVARD (295), FORDHAM (211), BROWN (291), iona (246), dartmouth (319).
Losses: princeton (120), boston college (13), WILLIAMS (Non-DI), Louisville (3), Manhattan (80), st. john’s (125), Marist (280).

Analysis: Killer schedule. Boston College, Williams, and Louisville in the same week, all losses. Williams was a classic trap game, since you can overlook them as Division III, but they ARE the Division III champs and had something to prove. Three-time defending champ should be battle-tested for league play, but if they’re burnt out, there could be problems.

American, 6-8 (218)
Wins: radford (245), UNC-GREENSBORO (264), howard (275), Bowling Green (251), East Tennessee State (110), YALE (172).
Losses: maryland (24), DELAWARE (137), fdu (138), elon (210), st. francis-pa (316), notre dame (167), Pepperdine (173), NIAGARA (160).

Analysis: Aside from that debacle at Maryland to open the season, the Eagles have been in every game. The SFPA loss hurts badly, but the ETSU win is a big one, as they were a highly-rated mid-major. As in past years, if the three is going, they’ve got a good shot to win.

Lehigh, 7-6 (212).
Wins: STONY BROOK (285), SWARTHMORE (Non-DI), HARVARD (295), columbia (286), DELAWARE VALLEY (Non-DI), dartmouth (319), WAGNER (288).
Losses: LONG ISLAND (229), sacred heart (205), connecticut (41), albany (306), vanderbilt (23), cornell (276).
Analysis: Of all the Patriot League contenders, I know the least about Lehigh. I can’t name their leading scorer (I just looked: Austen Rowland. Who?). They’ll probably be decent, but they’re probably the worst of the top 6.

Bucknell, 3-9 (303).
Wins: DICKINSON (Non-DI), URSINUS (Non-DI), Norfolk State (324).
Losses: michigan st. (54), Yale (172), Niagara (160), northwestern (196), st. francis-pa (316), PENN (57), college of charleston (66), penn st. (117), robert morris (297).

Analysis: It started badly, and has just tailspinned. After blowing the Michigan State game at the free throw line, Bucknell can’t beat anyone. It doesn’t hurt that the schedule is pretty tough (One Division I home game?). And yet, I think they’re set to make a run in the Patriot League. Two words: Kevin Bettencourt. Averaging 17.7 points a game, he’s simply a great scorer. He got 42 in the loss to SFPA! 42! Bettencourt automatically makes them better than Army and Navy.

Predictions for Saturday:

Holy Cross 65, at Army 50.
at Lafayette 72, Colgate 68.
At Lehigh 62, Navy 43.
At American 67, Bucknell 60.

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