Feb. 28, 2010
Center Valley, Pa. - Saturday began with a number of scenarios for seeding in the 2010 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament, but the picture cleared up very quickly as American and Colgate built big early leads in the afternoon contests and coasted to victories to effectively set the seeds for the League Tournament that begins with the quarterfinal round on Wednesday.
When the day was complete, the Patriot League Tournament was set with the following seeds and matchups for the quarterfinal round, where every game will be played at home sites on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
No. 8 Army (14-14, 4-10 PL) at No. 1 Lehigh (19-10, 10-4 PL)
No. 5 Navy (13-16, 7-7 PL) at No. 4 American (10-19, 7-7 PL)
No. 7 Holy Cross (8-21, 5-9 PL) at No. 2 Bucknell (14-16, 9-5 PL)
No. 6 Colgate (10-18, 6-8 PL) at No. 3 Lafayette (17-12, 8-6 PL)
The drama coming into the day surrounded Navy and American's chances to earn the final spot as a host in the quarterfinals, and the quest for the No. 1 seed overall between Lafayette and Lehigh. Both of those questions were answered in the two afternoon contests, as American led by 19 points at halftime on its way to a 78-60 win at home against Lafayette and Navy fell behind by 26 at the break before falling at Colgate, 85-73. That gave American the No. 4 seed and Navy the No. 5, and sealed the other seeds in the Tournament in the process.
While they knew their seeding position going into their evening contests, Lehigh and Bucknell each delivered strong performances to confirm their status as the top two seeds in the League. The Mountain Hawks won sole possession of the Patriot League regular-season title for the first time in school history by outscoring Holy Cross, 91-80, at Stabler Arena. Marquis Hall had 25 points and 12 assists on Senior Day, while C.J. McCollum scored 28 points and dished out eight assists. Bucknell led by as many as 19 points in a 62-51 victory at Army.
The Patriot League Tournament is played entirely at home sites, with the higher seeded team hosting each contest. The quarterfinal winners will face off on March 7 in the semifinals, with the Army/Lehigh and Navy/American winners matching up and the Holy Cross/Bucknell and Colgate/Lafayette victors facing off in the other side of the bracket. The top remaining seed hosts the League Championship on March 12 at 4:45 p.m. on ESPN2.
One quarterfinal game will be shown on the CBS College Sports Network at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, while a semifinal will be televised on the network on March 7 at 8 p.m. Any quarterfinal and semifinal games that are not available on the CBS College Sports Network will be shown through the Patriot League All-Access package <http://all-access.cbssports.com/player.html?code=patr>
As the top seed in the field, Lehigh is guaranteed a postseason berth, automatically qualifying for the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) if it does not win the Patriot League Championship. The Mountain Hawks are playing Army in the quarterfinal round for the fourth year in a row, with the Black Knights winning in each of the past three seasons. Lehigh did sweep the season series, beating the Black Knights by double digits on Jan. 17 and Feb. 13.
Bucknell will host a Patriot League Tournament game for the first time since 2007, and faces a familiar postseason foe. The Bison and Holy Cross have now matched up in 13 of the 20 Patriot League Tournaments, with the teams splitting the 12 matchups so far. It is the eighth time in the last nine years that the teams have played in the Patriot League Tournament, and second straight season in the quarterfinals after Holy Cross won, 75-56, last year when the seeds were reversed. The teams split the season series, each winning on their home court.
Lafayette and Colgate also renew a common Patriot League Tournament matchup, meeting for the ninth time after splitting the previous eight encounters. Colgate won the most recent Tournament matchup at home, 76-74, when the seeds were reversed in 2008. It is the fifth time they have faced off in the quarterfinal round in the past nine years. The teams split the season series, each winning on their home court. Lafayette is hosting a Patriot League Tournament game for the first time since 2000.
American has finished as a top four seed in all nine of its Patriot League seasons, and posted a League record at .500 or above in each of the campaigns. The Eagles are hosting in the quarterfinal round for the fourth year in a row, and have a perfect record in quarterfinal matchups in their first eight League seasons. They faced Navy twice during that span, winning quarterfinal games over the Mids in 2003 and 2005. Navy has dropped its quarterfinal game for eight consecutive seasons. American swept the season series from Navy, and is hosting largely because of an 80-77 double overtime win in Annapolis on Wednesday.
For more information, including a Tournament bracket and link for purchasing quarterfinal tickets from each of the host institutions, visit the 2010 Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship page <http://www.patriotleague.org/ot/championships/m-baskbl-10-champs.html>