When you think of mid-majors destined to make a run at March Madness, teams in the Patriot League may not be the first to come to mind.
However, if you’re paying attention, you’ll see that the league has a little bit of spice that could prove deadly. Here are three takeaways from last night’s action.
- Bucknell is a legitimate threat
Bucknell claimed first place after its 76-63 win over Loyola (Md.), coupled with Boston’s loss (more on that below). The Bison (14-6, 6-1) have only lost to Lehigh in league play, and may have the best duo in juniors Zach Thomas and Nana Foulland. Thomas averages 15.4 points per game and has been superb from the arc in recent games. Foulland leads the team in rebounds with 8.4 per game and has double-double potential any night. Guards Kimbal MacKenzie and Stephen Brown are budding playmakers as well. A big games looms against BU this Saturday.
2. BU slips up
Eric Fanning’s 21 points couldn’t lead the Terriers to victory against Colgate, as they fell 68-57. Malcolm Reigsford controlled the boards for the Raiders with 14 rebounds and Will Rayman and Sean O’Brien combined to hit 11 triples. Colgate improved to 3-4 in league play. To beat stronger teams in the league (like Bucknell), the three-point dependent Terriers can’t afford off nights from distance. They’ve been great overall in conference play (38.2 3P% as a team), but couldn’t weather a 5-for-20 showing against Colgate.
3. Don’t count Lehigh out.
Remember when Lehigh lost by three points to No. 7 Xavier? That did happen this season. The Golden Hawks did also drop their eighth game of the year Wednesday night to Navy. However, dismissing them might not be a good idea. Lehigh does sit at third in the league and has scary potential.
Tim Kempton leads the conference with most points per game (21.7) and rebounds per game (10.6), and Kahron Ross is the assists leader (5.9). Of course, this team isn’t playing well right now, illustrated by nine missed free throws 13 turnovers against Navy. However, they did shoot 45 percent from three, and with their star power have the potential to succeed later in the year. The problem is that March is creeping up, so Lehigh would be wise to wake up Saturday against struggling Lafayette.