Bits and pieces

In the latest Mid-Major Top 25, Holy Cross holds steady at No. 16. Bucknell remains in the "others receiving votes" category with 12. That puts the Bison unofficially at No. 41. Two teams Bucknell beat this season are also getting votes, and are ahead of the Bison in the "others" category. Niagara checks in with 27 votes and Rider has 29.

In this week's AP Poll, Holy Cross steady with two votes in the others receiving category

The coaches like the Crusaders better than the writers. HC garnered 12 votes in this week's USA Today-ESPN poll. That makes HC unofficially No. 28.

Interesting stuff on Ken Pomeroy's RPI site. According to Pomeroy's calculations, Holy Cross' RPI now stands at 45. Bucknell is at 61. Both teams benefit greatly from the reconfigured formula, according to Pomeroy's computations. Under the old formula, HC would be 19 spots lower at 64. Bucknell would be 95 (+34) under the old equation.

Also interesting, Pomeroy says Bucknell's non-conference strength of schedule would be 28, its non-con RPI 36. Figure in conference play, though, and BU's SOS drops to 161. Likewise, HC's non-con SOS is 53, its non-con RPI 44. The Crusaders SOS drops to 202 when league play factors in.

We won't pretend to know how to play with these numbers. But it would appear that if Bucknell had not had what coach Pat Flannery refers to as its "hiccup" at midseason, the Bison might actually have a better RPI than HC.

In his conference RPI computations. Pomeroy has the Patriot League at No. 21.

Of course the only polls or formula's that will really matter will be much easier to understand when they are posted on the Hart Center scoreboard Friday evening.

Over on, the Holy Cross mentor talks about the difference between playing to win and playing to not lose. Against Lehigh in Sunday's semifinal, Willard says:
"I was afraid we would adopt the 'protect the great season mentality' and unfortunately I was right."
Trying to make sure the Crusaders do not play that way Friday is a major objective this week, he says.

Gordie Jones delivers a Lehigh post-mortem in today's Morning Call. Mountain Hawks coach Billy Taylor told Jones:
"We have the potential to be a really good team. Hopefully we can be ready to compete for a championship."
It will not be easy. We don't want to get into a lot of looking ahead when this season is not over yet. But there is a lot of young talent in the league, especially on the two teams that are still alive.

Here's a good deal: Bucknell is offering free fan buses to Worcester for Bison faithful who buy tickets for the Patriot League final. Considering that it is a close to six-hour haul from Lewisburg to Worcester, that is a real sweet offer.

Joe Lunardi of ESPN still is picking Holy Cross to gain a 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament. What is interesting about this week's bracket projections is the grouping Lunardi suggests in the first round. Lunardi has (5) Villanova, (12) Vermont, (4) Alabama and HC gathering in Cleveland. That would set up the remote possibility of a Holy Cross-Vermont rematch if both pulled upsets in the first round. Lunardi lists Friday's BU-HC as one of his games of the week, adding: "Numbers notwithstanding, the Patriot will not be a two-bid league." Lunardi also says Vermont will not be an at large if it doesn't win the America East.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Bubble Watch says this about Holy Cross:
Holy Cross [24-5 (13-1), RPI: 45, SOS: 204] Barely escaped Lehigh but moves on to host Patriot finals against Bucknell. 1-3 vs RPI Top 50 and 21 wins outside RPI Top 100 probably mean tourney title is needed, despite good RPI.
The folks at say HC should be an 11 seed, headed to Boise with (6) Charlotte, (14) Wis.-Mil. and (3) Arizona. They also list Bucknell as still on the board for an at-large big.

To which our response is: Barkeep, bring us some of what they are drinking.

Want to know more about the guys who will fill out the dance card? Thy also have a new Meet the Committee page on the Bracketography site.

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