Men’s Basketball: Patriot League Power Rankings — Midway Madness

By: Hannah Yoshinaga and Ethan Fuller

Featured image courtesy of Colgate Athletics.

We’re now over halfway through the Patriot League slate, and outside of Colgate, there is a whole lot of congestion in the standings. BU, Army and Lafayette are all knocking on the door of American University, while Navy and Bucknell try to stay in contention. Every team has played each other. The second half offers a chance to correct mistakes while hunting for home-court advantage in the playoffs.

Ethan Fuller and Hannah Yoshinaga are back to rank this dogfight of a conference.

1. Colgate University (17-6, 8-2 PL)

Previous ranking: 1

The Raiders have proven themselves the best team in the conference throughout the entire season. Only the Lafayette Leopards have been able to take down Colgate, and their two defeats came by a combined six points. All five starters are averaging double-digit points per game. Even when Jordan Burns and Rapolas Ivanauskas may be underwhelming, Will Rayman, Tucker Richardson and others have stepped up. This team is a machine. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 5 at Lehigh, February 8 vs. Navy

2. American University (10-11, 6-4 PL) 

Previous ranking: 2

A peek behind the curtain: American and BU were in a dead tie in these rankings. We had to give the edge to American due to their head-to-head win, but the Eagles have a number of other quality victories and look much improved from their non-conference play. Of their four losses, two have come against Colgate. American averages over seven steals per contest and scores 14 points off turnovers per game. They can rely on the athleticism of Sa’eed Nelson to set the tone. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 5 at Navy, February 8 vs. Army 

3. Boston University (13-10, 7-3 PL) 

Previous ranking: 3

The Terriers have experienced a stunning turnaround: since dropping five straight in the middle of non-conference play, they have gone 10-3 and pushed themselves to second in the Patriot League standings. Max Mahoney has battled injuries but remains a force inside, while Javonte McCoy is establishing himself as a go-to playmaker. BU’s three losses have come at the hands of Colgate, American and Navy (in OT). They have chances to avenge two of those defeats in the next two weeks. 

This week: February 5 at Army, February 8 vs. Holy Cross 

4. Army West Point (11-10, 6-4 PL) 

Previous ranking: 4

Army is currently riding a six-game win streak which they capped off with an 80-79 victory over Lehigh on Sunday. Senior guard Tommy Funk scored a career-best 33 points in the game and was named Patriot League Player of the Week. Funk has turned Army into one of the best offenses in the league—the Black Knights’ 68 points against Bucknell on Wednesday were their fewest points scored since January 11 against BU. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 5 vs. BU, February 8 at American

5. Lafayette College (15-7, 7-4 PL) 

Previous ranking: 6

The Leopards have also found their stride. They’ve won their last four contests, including two big wins over Colgate and American. Lafayette’s offense is grooving; the team ranks third in the conference in points per game (73.1), second in field goal percentage (47.2%) and first in three-point percentage (37.2%). Six players have made at least 15 triples for the Leopards, and their diverse perimeter attack makes them tough to contain. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 8 vs. Lehigh 

6. Naval Academy (12-9, 6-4 PL)

Previous ranking:

It’s the same story every time for the Midshipmen: their defense is superb, but can they find offensive consistency? Most recently, that answer finally seems to be yes. Navy has reached 65+ points in five of the last six games — not an impressive benchmark, but a sign of positive growth. If the Midshipmen can hover around 70 points with their elite defense, they will be a grueling matchup for any team the rest of the way. — Ethan Fuller

This week: February 5 vs. American, February 8 at Colgate 

7. Bucknell University (9-15, 5-6 PL) 

Previous ranking: 8

Bucknell came out of the gate swinging to begin Patriot League play, but they have since subsided and looked more like the team many thought they would be in the preseason. One issue as of late has been senior guard Avi Toomer’s scoring, as he has a difficult time stringing together good performances on that end of the floor. John Meeks’ health is another concern; Meeks played in the recent win over Lafayette but sat out against BU, and Bucknell’s offense suffered significantly as a result. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 8 at Loyola MD 

8. College of the Holy Cross (3-20, 2-8 PL) 

 

Previous ranking: 8

Freshman forward Joe Pridgen, who earned his seventh Patriot League Rookie of the Week title this week, has been the driving force behind the Crusaders’ improvement. It’s difficult to look at a 3-20 team and see growth, but Holy Cross has gotten better with ball handling and shot selection. Pridgen in particular seems to have solved the turnover problems which plagued him in the first half of the season, perhaps signaling even more advancement for the team in the coming weeks. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 5 vs. Loyola MD, February 8 at BU 

9. Lehigh University (5-17, 2-8 PL) 

Previous ranking: 9

The Mountain Hawks have lost their past six games, including an 80-79 nail-biter versus Army at home. Defense has been a huge problem for Lehigh all season long and they have not held an opponent to fewer than 72 points since opening night against Navy. They have been strong on offense in several games, including their contest against Holy Cross where they scored 95 points, but that will not matter if they cannot get a few stops here and there. — Hannah Yoshinaga

This week: February 5 vs. Colgate, February 8 at Lafayette 

10. Loyola University Maryland (10-13, 2-8 PL) 

Previous ranking: 5

The Greyhounds came into the season with reasonably high expectations and pressure to do well because of senior guard Andrew Kostecka’s impending graduation. They have not lived up to those standards at all and are currently tied with Holy Cross and Lehigh for the worst record in the conference. Loyola has plenty of talent on offense, but they are ineffective on defense, particularly in the paint. Last Wednesday, they let BU center Max Mahoney easily go for 29 points, the third-highest scoring total of his career. — Hannah Yoshinaga


This week: February 5 at Holy Cross, February 8 vs. Bucknell

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