The Patriot League Tournament is already underway, as the opening round took place on February 28th, 2017. The opening round saw the eight seeded Army Black Knights handily defeating the ninth seeded American Eagles, while the seventh seeded Loyola (MD) Greyhounds barely staved off the tenth seeded Lafayette Leopards. For both teams, they move into quarterfinals, but they get paired up against the top two seeded teams.
The way the Patriot League Tournament is formatted, is that all 10 teams qualify. However, as already happened, the bottom four teams play each other in the opening round. The winners of the opening round get paired up with the top two seeded teams, while the fourth and fifth seeded, as well the third and sixth seeded are already paired up up to face off in the quarterfinals.
The schedule are as follows:
Tuesday, Feb. 28 (First Round)
No. 8 Army 74, No. 9 American 58
No. 7 Loyola (MD) 67, No. 10 Lafayette 64
Thursday, March 2 (Quarterfinals), Patriot League Network
Quarterfinal 1: No. 8 Army at No. 1 Bucknell, 7 p.m.
Quarterfinal 2: No. 5 Holy Cross at No. 4 Navy, 7 p.m.
Quarterfinal 3: No. 7 Loyola (MD) at No. 2 Boston U, 7 p.m.
Quarterfinal 4: No. 6 Colgate at No. 3 Lehigh, 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 5 (Semifinals), CBSSN
Quarterfinal 1 winner vs. Quarterfinal 2 winner, 12 or 2 p.m.
Quarterfinal 3 winner vs. Quarterfinal 4 winner, 12 or 2 p.m.
Wednesday, March 8 (Championship)
Final: 7:30 p.m., CBSSN
Prediction: The Patriot League is one of the weakest, as I believe that only three teams have a shot at winning the automatic bid. Obviously, the number one seed Bucknell Bison, who I’m picking by the way. The second seeded Boston University Terriers and third seeded Lehigh Mountain Hawks are the other two that have a shot. After that, it’s basically the bottom dwellers of Division I.
Anyways, the Bison have a solid season thus far, going 23-8 and 15-3 in conference. The only blemishes come by the hands of the Loyola (MD) Greyhounds and Lehigh Mountain Hawks, who swept them. And, the Mountain Hawks won both games very convincingly, winning by 11 at home and 8 on the road.
On the season, the Bison have a few legit wins. Out of conference and on the road, they beat the Vanderbilt Commodores. A team that’s very much on the bubble to be included in the field of 68. Also, at home, they beat the Richmond Spiders. These two wins alone should catapult them in earning a higher seeding, if/when the selection committee decides the seeding of the NCAA Tournament.
According to Ken Pomeroy, the Bucknell Bison are the 80th ranked team. Also impressively and surprisingly, they have the 80th ranked offense and 93rd ranked defense. Remember when the Bison upset the Kansas Jayhawks back in 2005? This could be the year they do it again!
The Patriot League Tournament games take place on the highest seeds home court. So, advantage the Bucknell Bison, who have home court advantage throughout. A home court advantage that’s served them well, as they’ve gone 12-2. I firmly believe that the Bison will be dancing by tournament’s end, even if they have to play their krpytonite in the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Third time’s a charm!