American at Navy (Patriot League)Alumni Hall - Annapolis, MD7:00 PM EST
Perhaps it has something to do with the Presidential race or something, but the balance of power in the Patriot League has definitely tilted towards America's capitol region. The champions of recent years, Bucknell and Holy Cross, can be found at mid-table. The Bison and Crusaders are two parts of a five-team glob all within two games of .500, still filibustering for seeding positions three through seven as the regular season approaches its end.
Your leaders are the American Eagles (17-10, 9-3), a team that has never achieved the NCAA Tournament. Not to say they haven't come close -- they began their Patriot life in the 2001-02 season (after leaving the CAA) have reached the title game three years in a row, and have not missed the semifinals in six tries. But this looks like the year the Eagles could get over the hump. That's thanks to a breakout junior season from 5-11 guard Garrison Carr
(whose 15.8 ppg is over four times last year's 3.8 figure), a methodical, slow style, as well as improved shooting, ball control and defense. The Eagles have won six straight, and could claim their third regular-season title in seven years tonight.
But they'll have to do it at Navy (15-12, 8-4), the Patriot's second place team, winners of five straight. The Midshipmen haven't won the league title since the Don DeVoe days of the late Nineties, but could pull into a tie with the tiebreak hammer this evening. That's because Navy won the first meeting between the two, a 77-66
Midshipmen win on Jan. 30 that featured a career-high 36-point performance from one of the most prolific PL shooters in recent memory, Greg Sprink
. The 6-5 senior leads the Patriot League with 20.8 ppg and has attempted no fewer than 453 shots. But the Mids have been a bit better on the road (8-4) than at home (7-5), and they'll be facing an American team that's run a 10-6 record away from Bender Arena. Crowd size could play a factor tonight.NAVY 83, AMER 68