Patriot League Power Rankings: Boston University Leads Heading Down the Stretch

Joe Jones and BU have control of their own destiny heading into the final week of Patriot League play. - David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The least predictable conference in the country has one of the tightest races in basketball heading into the last week of the season. Who will come out on top?

1) BU Terriers (20-9, 13-3)

After hitting a rough patch in the middle of conference play, the Terriers have rebounded and taken control of the Patriot League. Despite a loss on the weekend to Bucknell, they still have the inside track on the No. 1 seed with tough games against Army and Holy Cross on the docket this week. All John Jones and Co. have to do is take care of business and they can win the Patriot League in their first year of membership.

This Week: Wednesday at Army, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday at Holy Cross, 7:00 p.m.

2) American Eagles (16-11, 12-4)

For a while there is was looking like nobody was going to stop American from winning the league outright, but then the minutes load carried by the starters started to catch up and the Eagles dropped four of five. A win over Army on the weekend, coupled with BU's loss to Bucknell, keeps them in the running for the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament and with Navy and the Bison on the schedule this week things could break in their favor, with some help. Jesse Reed is 7-for-14 from three in his last three games and if he can get hot, Gerry McNamara style, he could carry the Eagles into the tournament.

This Week: Wednesday at Navy, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday vs. Bucknell, 1:00 p.m.

3) Holy Cross Crusaders (17-11, 11-5)

Still not totally out of the running for the Patriot League title, Milan Brown's crew could be the ultimate spoilers for their cross-state rivals in Boston. By the time the Crusaders and Terriers tip at 7:00 p.m. in Worcester on Saturday, both teams will know where American stands and who could ultimately win the league title and have home-court advantage throughout the conference tournament. Either way, this has been a solid season for the Crusaders and with wins in five of their last six games they are playing well at the right time of year.

This Week: Wednesday at Loyola, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday vs. BU, 7:00 p.m.

4) Bucknell Bison (14-13, 9-7)

Bucknell has already staved off BU's title chances for a few days thanks to a win on Saturday and this week they could bury American's with a similar upset. Bucknell will get the last shot at American in 2013-14 on Saturday and could render BU's trip to Worcester meaningless in terms of the league title. It has been a rollercoaster season for the Bison, but they have won their last four games and could not have picked a better time to peak. A 2-0 week, coupled with anything less than that by Army, would earn the Bison a home game in the first round of the Patriot League tournament against the Black Knights.

This Week: Wednesday vs. Lehigh, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday at American, 7:00 p.m.

5) Army Black Knights (13-14, 9-7)

After starting the conference season off strong, Army has come back to earth a bit and now find themselves fighting for a top-four seed. As stated above, only a perfect week would give the Black Knights a shot at a home game but they can do no worse than the No. 5 seed. Kyle Wilson and Tanner Plomb are the types of scorers every team wants this time of year and they give Army a shot at making a miracle run through the conference tournament, regardless of what seed they get.

This Week: Wednesday vs. BU, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday vs. Lafayette, 3:00 p.m.

6) Lafayette Leopards (10-17, 6-10)

We're bucking the record trend a bit here, but the Leopards have been on FIRE lately, winning six of their last seven games after losing the first nine they played. The return of Seth Hinrichs has been a boon for them, opening things up for the whole offense and gave Lafayette the punch it needed to get over the hump and start beating people. With winnable games against Colgate and Army on the schedule this week, Lafayette has a chance to finish the conference season at 8-10. That's incredible.

This Week: Wednesday at Colgate, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday at Army, 3:00 p.m.

7) Lehigh Mountain Hawks (14-15, 7-9)

Lehigh has been a tough team to figure out. On the one hand, it lost five of its first six conference games with the lone win coming against Colgate. But then on the other hand, the Mountain Hawks have beaten BU and won four-straight after that tough start. But then on the OTHER hand, they have lost three of their last four. With games against Bucknell and Colgate on the horizon, let's be safe and call this a 1-1 week. But who knows, honestly.

This Week: Wednesday at Bucknell, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday vs. Colgate, 7:00 p.m.

8) Loyola Greyhounds (10-17, 5-11)

The other newcomers to the Patriot League have not faired nearly as well as the Terriers, but much of that has to do with the injury sustained by Dylon Cormier that has kept him out of the last six games, five of them losses. Without Cormier, the Greyhounds simply don't have the scoring to keep up with some of the better teams in the league. One of the more intriguing underdog picks is now rendered punchless, which means less fun during the conference tournament.

This Week: Wednesday vs. Holy Cross, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at Navy, 7:00 p.m.

9) Colgate Raiders (10-17, 4-12)
10) Navy Midshipmen (9-18, 4-12)

Speaking of punchless, here are two teams that have really had disappointing seasons. Both the Mids and Raiders were expected to be better but have not lived up to what we thought they would be (remember when Colgate was No. 1 in these same rankings?). Colgate faces Lafayette and Lehigh to round out the season while Navy will play American and Loyola. Both teams will have nice, long offseasons to figure out what went wrong and hopefully they will take advantage.

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