One (or two) more Saturday night

What a shame there's not more left to be determined than third, fourth and fifth. Not that those spots are not significant, since the third place team avoids a trip to Worcester.

But it would be great for there to be more at stake Saturday than a starring role in a Central Susquehanna Valley Visitors Bureau commercial ("Andre, your team just won third place. What will you do next?" "We're going to Lewisburg!").

With the staggered starts of Saturday's games, it could have been an afternoon and evening of scoreboard watching intrigue if the top two seeds hadn't been settled last week.

That doesn't mean the final day of the regular season is without its interesting matchups. Except for what ought to be a yawner in Worcester, where the guys who scrimmage against the Holy Cross women in practice might give Army a good game, the rest of the schedule does feature some good games.

For starters, we have some regional rivalries in Lehigh-Lafayette and Navy-American. Back in early January, about all that looked interesting about those games was the senior day festivities. But Lehigh and American has slid a little, Lafayette has gotten a little better and Navy has gotten a lot better. All of which means they ought to be pretty decent matchups.

And then we have Colgate at Bucknell, with the Bison looking to get back on track after a tough loss in Worcester.

The best thing about the Colgate-Bucknell game is the 7 p.m. start time. That, combined with Lehigh-Lafayette's 1 p.m. tip (probably need to get it in before the 3:00 co-ed curling match on CSTV), makes it possible for serious hoops junkies like us to make it to two games in one day.

It's not quite the same as four game tournament days (RIP), but it will have to do until next week.

We will do updates as often as possible. If we get no speeding tickets and the drive-thru window doesn't screw up our dinner order, it ought to be a lot of fun.

We will not be installing a GPS tracking device for fans to follow our adventure online. But you can keep track of the game scores with the scoreboards in between our updates.

Patriot League scoreboards
ESPN | CBS Sportsline | | Yahoo!

Lehigh at Lafayette, 1 p.m.: If Lehigh loses, it is in the four-five game at Worcester. If the Mountain Hawks win, they still need Colgate to lose at Bucknell, since Colgate would likely win the RPI tiebreaker for the No. 3 seed.

Lafayette is locked in at No. 7. Normally that might mean Lehigh had a motivational edge, since the Leopards have nothing to play for. But not when it is senior day in your gym, with your archrival from the next town over coming in.

Lehigh should win this one big. But the Mountain Hawks have made a habit of not doing what is expected of them all season.

When we predicted Lafayette playing spoiler late in the season at home, we thought we meant for one of the top two seeds. Could it be our crystal ball was just a little cloudy? Could this be what we were thinking of? Could the Leopards force the Mountain Hawks to take a long bus ride to Worcester while they make a leisurely drive to Lewisburg? Stranger things have happened.
Lafayette notes | Lehigh notes | USA Today matchup | Gametracker

Navy at American, 2 p.m.: We had an invite from the Blue Shirts to hang with them in Bender for this one. When that e-mail arrived, it looked like a game that would hardly be worth the drive to D.C. Now, though, given the way Navy has played of late, it might just be the best matchup on the schedule. Had the timing of the two games in Pa. not facilitated our Ernie Banks endeavor, we probably would be headed to AU for this one.

There are those who think the Midshipmen might just be the third-best team in the league right now. A win here would convince us.

By the way, AU is offering a free video webcast of the game. To their credit, they are not hyping it as worldwide television.
American notes | Navy notes | USA Today matchup | Navy Radio

Army at Holy Cross, 3 p.m.: The year was 2001. Holy Cross was on a roll. Heading into the regular season finale, the Crusaders had just a single loss, on the road, in league play and first place in the conference, which in those pre-AU days meant a first-round tournament bye, was already locked up. The regular season finale that year, as it is this year, was against the last place team in the league. Then as now, that last place team was Army. Final score: Black Knights of the Hudson 78, Purple Knights of the Blackstone 75. None of the current Crusaders were around back then. But you can bet they have heard the story at least once in the past couple days.

Ralph Willard has a scouting report (along with a Bucknell recap) on
Jim Crews has done a real good job of getting his team better as the year has gone on. This is a very young team and some people just look at their record and don't recognize how they have improved. Though they have lost their last 4 games, they have been by an average of 7 points each. Army always plays hard ,and with this being Senior Day, I always worry about focus.
Yes, Army has been playing people closer. But this is not horseshoes. Expect all five HC seniors to see ample playing time. 'Nuf said.
Army notes | Holy Cross notes | USA Today matchup | Gametracker | HC radio

Colgate at Bucknell, 7 p.m.: It is hard to imagine Bucknell not taking care of business in this one. Even though the homecourt is secured for the first two rounds, coming off a loss at Holy Cross, the Bison should have no trouble getting up for this one.

Colgate lacks the inside presence to check Chris McNaughton, but its three-point shooters are always a threat, which is why the Raiders are still in contention for the No. 3 seed, despite being written off by almost everyone, us included, at the start of conference play.
Bucknell notes | Colgate notes | USA Today matchup | Bucknell radio | 'Gate radio

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