Sunday previews

If these were being played on Monday, we could use a catchy "Must Win Monday" theme. Lehigh and Bucknell are in must-win mode if they hope to keep Holy Cross from being the top seed in the tournament. American is in must win mode if it wants to even think about staying in the league's upper division, let alone getting a home game in the first round.

With three games to go after today, there's no more margin for error for anyone but Holy Cross. And even the Crusaders must win if they want to keep alive their slim hopes of an at-large NCAA bid should they get upset in the tournament.

Patriot League scoreboards
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Lehigh at Holy Cross, 2 p.m.: This is a must-win for Lehigh. Though the Mountain Hawks have little realistic chance of repeating as regular season champs, they will be very much alive for the second seed and homecourt in the first two rounds of the tournament if they can end the Crusaders' 10-game win streak.

The two went to the buzzer two weeks ago in Bethlehem. Since that game was close in no small part due to some home court officiating that kept Lehigh marching to the foul line, it is tempting to give the Hawks little chance in Worcester. But there are two injuries that could make a difference this time. One, a foot injury that slowed Lehigh guard Joe Knight in the last meeting, is now healed and Knight has been on a tear the last few games, scoring 24 against Bucknell and 20 Friday night at Army.

The other injury is the one to Nate Lufkin's ankle. Tim Clifford is a capable replacement in the rotation. But Clifford is a freshman and Lufkin is a senior. In a game with as much on the line as this one, coaches like that leadership on the floor.
Lehigh notes | HC Notes | USA Today matchup | HC radio

Navy at Bucknell, 2 p.m.:Navy shocked the league by upsetting the Bison in Annapolis two weeks ago. They could do it again if Bucknell doesn't come out with the same intensity it showed Friday night against American. After beating AU, the Bison have the inside track on that important second place finish in the regular season, and because they still play Holy Cross again, they still have a chance of catching the Crusaders if they get some help. But for either scenario to play to Bucknell's favor, they will have to go 1-0 Sunday, as our friend Bill Gibbons would say.
Navy notes | Bucknell notes | USA Today matchup | Bucknell radio | Navy Radio

American at Colgate, 2 p.m.: Two weeks ago, American was contending for first place. Now, after two straight losses, the Eagles face a must-win on the road to stay in the league's upper division. This looks like a preview of the upcoming 4-5 game in the first round of the tournament. The question is, which will get to wear the white jerseys when that one is played.
AU notes | Colgate notes | USA Today matchup | Gametracker | 'Gate radio

Lafayette at Army, 1 p.m.: Lafayette cannot take this one for granted. Yes Army is bad. Very bad. But the Black Knights played Lehigh tough Friday night and beat Navy in West Point a few weeks ago. Even with a win, which could force a tie for last place, Army is likely to end up the No. 8 seed, since the tiebreaker is likely to be RPI and Army's is rock bottom.

That means Army is pretty much playing only for pride. But don't ever discount pride as a motivational factor for either service academy.
Lafayette notes (pdf) | Army notes (pdf) | USA Today matchup | Gametracker

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