Four conference tournaments get started on Tuesday March 3 and one of them is the Patriot League. It seems unlikely that the Patriot League rep would pull off a big upset in the NCAA Tournament, but there are a couple of teams that major conference squads would not want to see in the Field of 68.
One of them is the #1 seed Colgate Raiders. Colgate has a very impressive win on the road over Cincinnati to its name to go along with a 14-4 record in conference play. We could very well be looking at a Raiders team that is 18-0 in conference play. Their four losses have been by a total of 11 points.
As a result, Colgate is the favorite over solid squads like Boston U and American. Lafayette is a dangerous #5 seed that owns two of the four conference losses for Colgate. This should be a fun one.
Here are the teams, seeds, and odds from 5Dimes Sportsbook:
- Colgate 23-8 (14-4) -175
- American 16-13 (12-6) (H2H tiebreaker vs. Navy) +475
- Boston University 18-13 (12-6) +420
- Army 15-14 (10-8) (H2H tiebreaker) +3500
- Lafayette 18-11 (10-8) +2000
- Navy 14-15 (8-10) (H2H tiebreaker) +4000
- Bucknell 12-19 (8-10) +4000
- Lehigh 10-20 (7-11) (H2H tiebreaker) +10000
- Loyola (MD) 15-16 (7-11) +7500
- Holy Cross 3-28 (2-16) +75000
All 10 teams in the conference make the tournament and those tiebreakers are huge. All games are on campus sites, so there could be a really big advantage as the tournament goes on, particularly if American and BU meet in the semifinals as expected. Lafayette, who does have those two wins over Colgate, has to go on the road to Army in the first round and would likely spend the duration of the conference tournament on the road because of a 0-2 record vs. the Black Knights.
With the travel in this conference tournament, it is really spread out with games from March 3-11. That takes some of the situational elements out of the equation to be sure.
Here is the schedule for the 2020 Patriot League Tournament:
Tuesday March 3
7 p.m. ET: 9 Loyola (MD) at 8 Lehigh
7 p.m. ET: 10 Holy Cross at 7 Bucknell
Thursday March 5
7 p.m. ET: 9/8 winner at 1 Colgate
7 p.m. ET: 5 Lafayette at 4 Army
7 p.m. ET: 6 Navy at 3 Boston U
7 p.m. ET: 10/7 winner at 2 American
Sunday March 8
12 p.m. ET: 9/8/1 winner vs. 5/4 winner
2 p.m. ET: 6/3 winner vs. 10/7/2 winner
Wednesday March 11
7:30 p.m. ET: Championship Game at higher seed
Colgate enters the conference tournament with the best offense in the conference. Colgate ranks third in defense behind Bucknell and American. The key difference for those two teams is that they force more turnovers. American has the best 3P% against in league play and that could be interesting against a Colgate team that leads the conference in that department, but it wouldn’t be a shocker to see Bucknell knock off American in all honesty.
Bucknell beat American by four at home and lost by one on the road. The Bison aren’t what they used to be, but this is a team that also beat Colgate late in the season. One problem with so many flawed teams in this league is that it winds up being difficult to find the level of consistency needed to win three games in a row. That is one thing that has made Colgate so good in this league. The Raiders are consistently good, even in most of their losses.
Boston U is probably the most interesting wild card here because the Terriers have a terrific offense that rivals Colgate’s in a lot of ways. The Terriers aren’t that far off the pace defensively either. It is just the fact that BU lost the tiebreaker and has to play on the road in that semifinal game.
Army has pretty good odds at +3500 with a solid, efficient offense, but the Knights have struggled when stepping up in class in this conference, with two losses to American, BU, and Colgate. They may beat Lafayette, but the fun probably stops there.
Colgate is not infallible, but this one looks like a spot in which the league’s best team should hold serve throughout the tournament. This should be Colgate’s third straight year in the final and they are looking for their second straight win with an experienced roster and a bunch of different scoring options.
The price is never great on a #1 seed, but Colgate is the best team here and it should show.
Pick: Colgate -175