The Patriot League at a glance doesn’t exactly strike me as a “power” conference, but some of the teams within this conference have provided some very entertaining basketball moments over the past couple of seasons. In all honesty, the Patriot League houses one of my personal all-time favorites in Lehigh University. A 15 seed in last year’s tournament, Lehigh stunned the country and knocked off the 2 seed
Puke Duke in the “first” round. That upset was undoubtedly my second favorite memory from last year’s big dance; the only thing sweeter than a Cat victory is a Duke loss… just so happens that #BBN was treated to both in the same tournament.
This year’s Patriot League final puts the Bucknell Bison against Lafayette. The Bison are heavily favored in this game, but as this college basketball season has shown, ANYBODY can beat ANYBODY. Let’s meet the teams.
LOCATION: Lewisburg, PA
NOTABLE ALUMNI: Villanova Head Basketball Coach Jay Wright
BASKETBALL NOTES: The Bison have an overall record of 27-5 and went 12-2 in league play. They have an RPI rating of 55 and a BPI rating of 58. If the Bison sound familiar, they should. Bucknell defeated Kansas in the (“real”) first round of the 2005 NCAA tournament… good for you Bucknell.
LAFAYETTE COLLEGE (not to be confused with the Lexington High School)
LOCATION: Easton, PA
NOTABLE ALUMNI: Joe Maddon, Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays
BASKETBALL NOTES: The leopards come into the finals with a record of 19-14 and went 10-4 in league play. Their RPI and BPI ratings both come in under 150 (168 and 189 respectively) and reports indicate that they will be without dynamic guard C.J. McCollum for tonight’s game. You might remember Lafayette from earlier this season when they were defeated by the Cats 101-49 in Rupp Arena.
For all intents and purposes, I think that Bucknell will come out victorious tonight, but like I said, anything can happen. But, if Lafayette were to pull the upset, Bucknell does appear deserving of an at-large bid into the tournament which can spoil the hopes of some teams on the bubble- THIS STILL INCLUDES KENTUCKY. A victory at home over Florida does not guarantee anything for Cal and company, and a poor showing at the SEC tourny might still send the Cats to the NIT. Let’s just hope that none of this occurs…
With all of that being said, look for Lafayette to play inspired basketball tonight and keep it close. But in the end, Bucknell will prove too much for the under-dog Leopards.
Prediction: 72-57 Bucknell
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