Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.
9 Loyola MD def. 8 Holy Cross**
7 Boston def. 10 Lehigh
9 Loyola MD def. 1 Navy
5 American def. 4 Army
3 Lafayette def. 6 Bucknell
2 Colgate def. 7 Boston
5 American def. 9 Loyola MD
2 Colgate def. 3 Lafayette
2 Colgate def. 5 American
** Holy Cross withdrew from the event due to a positive COVID test
Don’t get it twisted, Colgate has played strong basketball all season. Though they’ve only faced three different opponents, winning 11 of 12 games is still impressive. The Raiders have a Top 10 NET ranking and the fourth-highest margin of victory in the country. They are a fine team in a very weak conference. KenPom rates Colgate’s strength of schedule as the 32nd easiest among over 300 teams. Watch closely to see if this is a team that can make a splash in the Big Dance.
It’s hard to distinguish the level of parity in the Patriot League given how limited each team’s schedule was this season. The Greyhounds only won four games but they have one of the top players in the conference. Sophomore forward Santi Aldama leads the conference in points per game and rebounds per game and shoots 50% from the floor. At this level of play, a dynamic performance from a dynamic player can be the difference. A walkover past Holy Cross may allow the Greyhounds to better prep for top-seeded Navy. Plus, as added motivation, Loyola is two wins away from making their first ever Patriot League final.
Matchup to Watch
Colgate vs American
With Las Vegas identifying Colgate as the odds-on favorite to win the tournament, this matchup will be interesting for a few reasons. This game represents the first time all season where the Raiders face different opponents in back-to-back-to-back games. Colgate is looking for their fourth straight conference championship appearance. The Eagles, on the other hand, present a challenge that Colgate hasn’t yet seen. Both teams are strong three-point shooting teams and defensively strong with respect to other Patriot League teams. The Raiders could win handily but should be tested like they haven’t been in two months.
Featured Image courtesy of gocolgateraiders.com
“From Our Haus to Yours“