Showdown Sunday

That shindig down in Jacksonville is not the only big game on the schedule today.

In Patriot League basketball, there are two games set to tip well before the Super Bowl pregame show even starts that are well worth a fan's attention.

Holy Cross at American and Bucknell at Lehigh are super matchups in their own right, and each game could say a lot about who will end up hosting in the first two rounds of the Patriot League Tournament, which is now less than four weeks away.

We will be in our nation's capital for that HC-AU game, with plans to file a story and skidaddle back north in time to watch our beloved Iggles. How much of an update, aside from posting the HC-AU story, we do this evening will depend entirely on how far ahead or behind Philly is.

Likewise, how early Monday morning we get the full update posted will be determined entirely by what is commonly known as the hangover factor.

In the meantime, you can catch Army-Navy on CBS. Colgate-Lafayette is also on what the Patriot League continues to try to convince us is national TV (we still are not buying that) on the College Sports Network. The Bucknell-Lehigh game can be heard on the Bison Sports Network (link below).

Holy Cross at American, though, will not be on any place. With the soon-to-be-moved Worcester Ice Cats of the American Hockey League getting precedent on the station that carries the Crusaders, Holy Cross officials decided not to send Bob Fouracre on the road this weekend for what would be an Internet-only broadcast.

Never mind the fact that they sent a crew to do the women's games on the same trip for the same purpose just two weeks ago. The women's game, in Worcester, will be Webcast. Next weekend, roles will be reversed, with the men at home and on the Web and the women on the road and unheard.

Sound backwards? Yeah, we thought so too. I guess making good decisions like those are why athletic department officials make the big bucks.

You can follow the HC -AU, and the rest of the action, using the scoreboards below. All provide live updates at intervals throughout the game. Our experience says which one has the most recent score is pretty much hit or miss, so check them each to see which is the most up to date at any given moment.

Patriot League scoreboards
ESPN | CBS Sportsline | | Yahoo!

Holy Cross at American, 1 p.m.: A win in this one puts Holy Cross in the drivers seat. With four of its last five at home, and a two-game lead on whomever is in third after today, the Crusaders would be pretty much a lock for a top two finish and a homecourt edge in the first two rounds. Especially since this would give them a sweep over AU, an important tiebreaker.

It will not come easy, though. American has been playing well, winning three straight and seven of its last eight. The lone loss, an 80-56 shellacking in that snow-delayed game at Worcester, probably means nothing today, other than as a motivational factor.

It would be tough to expect HC to blow the Eagles out again. Especially not with center Nate Lufkin's status questionable after spraining an ankle at Navy Friday night. Holy Cross' offense, which rolled up six straight 50-percent shooting nights in a recent stretch has been held in check the last two games. It's also hard to imagine AU winning the game if it turns into a defensive battle. That would be playing into the Crusaders hands. Tempo will be the key for AU.
HC notes | AU Notes | USA Today matchup | No radio

Bucknell at Lehigh, 1 p.m.: Pat Flannery returned to the Bison bench Friday night and the Bison returned to form, snapping their two-game losing streak in a 20-point romp at Lafayette.

Lehigh, though, is no Lafayette. The Mountain Hawks are still smarting from a loss two weeks ago at Bucknell in a game they had plenty of chances to win.

This is pretty much a must-win for Lehigh if it wants to be at Stabler to start the tournament. Likewise, Bucknell cannot afford to stumble here if they want to win the regular season title. We like Bucknell's matchups with the Mountain Hawks. They seem to us to have an edge at four of the five positions, and the one were Lehigh holds a slight advantage, Earl Nurse over John Clark at the four, is negated by the fact that neither is a guy who is going to win a game for you. Bucknell's deeper bench is also an edge.

But Lehigh is at home, and their defense will be an equalizing factor. If Bucknell falls into its habits of last weekend, settling for jump shots instead of running its offense, the Mountain Hawks are certainly good enough to take advantage.
Bucknell notes | Lehigh notes | USA Today matchup | Bucknell radio

Colgate at Lafayette, 7 p.m.: Can Lafayette snap out of its doldrums and challenge Colgate for fifth place? Only if A) they take care of the ball for a change and B) Colgate's jumpers don't fall.
Lafayette notes | Colgate notes | USA Today matchup | Gametracker | 'Gate radio

Army at Navy, 7 p.m.: It's the Star game, which is a big deal to the academies. And it is on CBS, making it arguably the only actual national broadcast of a Patriot League game other than the tournament final.

But you'd have a hard time finding anyone outside of Annapolis and West Point who cares. How Navy lost the first time is beyond us. But right now, the Mids are by far the superior team. Only a complete letdown after the near-upset of Holy Cross Friday would give the Black Knights a chance. And with the Mids playing Army, that is not going to happen.

By the way, check the post below for a good piece on Army.
Navy notes | Army notes (pdf) | USA Today matchup | Live Stats | Navy Radio

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