Men’s Basketball: Patriot League Power Rankings — Postseason

Featured graphic courtesy of the Patriot League.

After two grueling months of jockeying for wins, the Patriot League Tournament bracket is officially set. With the exception of the Colgate and Holy Cross, who have bookended the rankings for nearly the entire season, this conference features a stunning amount of uncertainty, making it even tougher for analysts to divine the postseason outcome. Just take a look at our Power Rankings Timeline below:

Power Rankings Graph

But Ethan Fuller and Hannah Yoshinaga will do their best to foresee the future. They have ranked the Patriot League squads for the final time this season and noted the predicted ceilings and floors for each team in the conference. Four teams have a legitimate shot at the title, with many more poised to bust some brackets. Welcome to March Madness Lite.

1. Colgate University (23-8, 14-4 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Matt Langel (COY), Will Rayman (DPOY, All-PL First Team, All-Defense), Jordan Burns (All-PL First Team), Rapolas Ivanauskas (All-PL Second Team), Keegan Records (All-Rookie)

Playoff Floor: Quarterfinals

Playoff Ceiling: Championship

Colgate never relinquished its status as the conference title favorite, and entering the playoffs they might seem even scarier than before the season began. So why the low floor? Fortunately for every other Patriot League contender, the bracket broke out about as poorly as possible for the Raiders. They could potentially face a suddenly daunting Loyola Maryland team in the quarterfinals and a Lafayette squad that swept the Raiders in the semis.

But make no mistake — this is Colgate’s championship to lose. If they can flaunt their experience, chemistry and shooting for three games, they will be headed to the NCAA Tournament. The safe money lies with Matt Langel’s Raiders. — Ethan Fuller

2. American University (16-13, 12-6 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Sa’eed Nelson (POY, All-PL First Team), Stacy Beckton Jr. (All-PL Third Team, All-Defense)

Playoff Floor: Quarterfinals

Playoff Ceiling: Championship

American overtakes BU in our final rankings by virtue of that critical tiebreaker. The Eagles gain a home semifinal, potentially against the Terriers, which is huge for a team that went 10-3 at home and just 6-10 on the road this season. But a probable quarterfinal matchup against the red-hot Bison is cause for concern; Bucknell lost by a point at American and beat the Eagles by four in the second matchup.

Still, with Sa’eed Nelson on the team, American always has a chance. They should rely on him to set the tone on both ends with his relentless aggression. With Nelson in the final stretch of his decorated collegiate career, he’ll undoubtedly be gunning for a title. An upset on the Colgate side of the bracket would break the playoffs wide open. — Ethan Fuller

3. Boston University (18-13, 12-6 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Max Mahoney (All-PL First Team), Walter Whyte (All-PL Second Team), Javante McCoy (All-PL Third Team), Jonas Harper (All-Defense), Ethan Brittain-Watts (All-Rookie)

Playoff Floor: Quarterfinals

Playoff Ceiling: Championship

While Boston University has stumbled in the early portions of its recent contests, the team still manages to pull out wins. Taking down American at home proved the Terriers can beat anyone on their side of the bracket. But the path to a title won’t be easy — a home game against Navy, who beat BU in Case Gym in January, followed by road games against American and Colgate could potentially make for a brutal trek.

Like American, BU’s title chances would take a major leap if Colgate somehow lost. But first the Terriers have to snap out of their opening-half funks. They can’t afford to fall behind against Navy — or potentially the Eagles again — if they want to win a championship. However, with an All-League trio and a cast of capable role-players, BU has the depth to make a run. — Ethan Fuller

4. Army (15-14, 10-8 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Tommy Funk (All-PL First Team), Matt Wilson (All-PL Second Team)

Playoff Floor: Semifinals

Playoff Ceiling: Semifinals

Army has the most efficient offense in the Patriot League with a 47.4 team shooting percentage. While Tommy Funk was the only member of the Black Knights’ backcourt to make the All-PL team, Army can put three other skilled guards on the floor in Lonnie Grayson, Josh Caldwell, and Tucker Blackwell. Also working in Army’s favor is their success against Lafayette this season. Army won both of its contests against the Leopards in dominant fashion, and they will have the benefit of playing at home in the first round.

However, the mountain gets much steeper for the Black Knights if they advance past the first round. Army lost all of its games against Colgate, American, and BU in the regular season, making it seem unlikely that they will flip the script in the playoffs. Army’s offense may simply not be enough against some of the conference’s top-of-the-line defenses. — Hannah Yoshinaga 

5. Lafayette College (18-11, 10-8 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Justin Jaworski (All-PL Second Team), Leo O’Boyle (All-Rookie)

Playoff Floor: Quarterfinals

Playoff CeilingFinals

The Leopards have one accolade no other Patriot League team holds: a season sweep of Colgate. Their electric (albeit inconsistent) long range firepower could be the Raiders’ kryptonite — if Lafayette can beat Army first. The Black Knights swept the Leopards, winning by 15 or more points in both contests.

For Lafayette to upend the conference, they’ll have to put together a string of impressive shooting performances. Maybe this is enough to take down Army and Colgate, but three straight dynamic games seems like too much to ask for. But the Leopards have a real chance to cause some chaos. — Ethan Fuller

6. Loyola University Maryland (15-16, 7-11 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Andrew Kostecka (All-PL First Team, All-Defense), Santi Aldama (All-Rookie), Cam Spencer (All-Rookie), Golden Dike (All-Rookie)

Playoff Floor: First round

Playoff Ceiling: Championship

The Greyhounds have the misfortune of playing Lehigh, the same team that beat them by only three points on Saturday to secure the eight seed and home court advantage in the first round. Lehigh’s high-powered offense could prove troublesome for a Loyola squad that has struggled to find its footing on defense throughout the season.

There are still two reasons that the Greyhounds could contend for a Patriot League championship, though, and their names are Andrew Kostecka and Santi Aldama. Kostecka has answered the call time and time again on both ends of the floor, while Aldama proved to be the missing piece Loyola needed when he returned from injury a few weeks ago. Running the majority of the offense through those two players and getting defensive contributions from the rest of the roster could be a winning formula for the Greyhounds in the tournament. — Hannah Yoshinaga

7. Bucknell University (12-19, 8-10 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: John Meeks (All-PL Third Team)

Playoff Floor: Quarterfinals

Playoff Ceiling: Semifinals

The defending Patriot League champions have played like one of the top teams in the Patriot League as of late. In the past few weeks, the Bison beat Colgate and American and nearly defeated BU on the road. Although they were unable to secure a first-round trip to the quarterfinals, Bucknell seems primed to steamroll past league-worst Holy Cross in its 2020 playoff debut.

The main concern is which version of Bucknell will make an appearance in the postseason the one that finally played up to its potential in February or the one that went through a five-game losing streak that included lopsided losses to BU and Loyola. Bucknell can shoot the ball as well as any team in the conference, but blowing double-digit leads like they did against BU on Saturday won’t carry them very far. — Hannah Yoshinaga 

8. Navy (14-15, 8-10 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Cam Davis (All-PL Second Team)

Playoff Floor: Quarterfinals

Playoff Ceiling: Semifinals

Navy is a sinking ship after losing seven of their last nine contests and floundering on offense. The “defense wins championships” mentality is only applicable to a team that can function passably on the other end, and Navy has failed to inspire confidence outside of All-Conference Second Team honoree Cam Davis.

The Midshipmen did beat Boston University at home in the regular season, which means they have the potential to do it again. But don’t count on Navy making much noise in the overall tournament, as their inability to put together two complete games on offense rules out a chance at the title. — Ethan Fuller

9. Lehigh University (10-20, 7-11 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Jordan Cohen (All-PL Third Team), Reed Fenton (All-Rookie)

Playoff Floor: First Round

Playoff Ceiling: Quarterfinals

Like Bucknell, Lehigh started playing its best basketball at the right time, and the Mountain Hawks cruise into the playoffs with a solid chance to advance past the first round. In their last three games, the Mountain Hawks have defeated Loyola, BU, and Bucknell, showing that they can grind out tough wins when it counts. Lehigh has also shied away from relying too heavily on three-point shooting, forcing defenders to stay honest and enabling the Hawks to take advantage of their solid free-throw shooting.

On the other hand, there is no telling when Lehigh’s luck will run out. Even if the Mountain Hawks move past the first round, they will have a road match against Colgate waiting for them. Given that Lehigh went 3-14 on the road and Colgate went 13-1 at home, that scenario does not work in the Hawks’ favor. — Hannah Yoshinaga

10. College of the Holy Cross (3-28, 2-16 PL)

All-Patriot League Awards: Joe Pridgen (ROTY, All-PL Third Team, All-Rookie)

Playoff Floor: First round

Playoff Ceiling: First round

To put it frankly, the Crusaders have very little to look forward to in this year’s Patriot League Tournament. Holy Cross finished the regular season with one of the worst records in college basketball, and the only thing Crusader fans will want to remember about this season in years to come will be the remarkable debut of Joe Pridgen.

Pridgen dazzled in his rookie campaign and made life difficult for opposing defenses all season long. However, Holy Cross simply never had enough talent surrounding him to make much noise against conference opponents. The Crusaders failed to come close against Bucknell this season and it seems unlikely that they will be able to change their fate. — Hannah Yoshinaga

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