The Patriot League tournament begins today, kicking off March Madness, so they get their own special preview.
In conference efficiency margins (inspired, of course, by John Gasaway's Tuesday Truths):
|Record||Pace||PPP||PPP allowed||Efficiency Margin|
|American||13 – 5||61.1||1.08||0.97||0.11|
|Boston U||15 – 3||65.2||1.08||0.98||0.10|
|Holy Cross||12 – 6||61.1||1.07||1.01||0.06|
|Bucknell||11 – 7||64||1.03||0.98||0.05|
|Army||10 – 8||67||1.07||1.05||0.02|
|Colgate||6 – 12||61.7||1.09||1.08||0.01|
|Lafayette||6 – 12||64.7||1.08||1.12||-0.04|
|Lehigh||7 – 11||64||0.99||1.05||-0.06|
|Loyola MD||6 – 12||64||0.96||1.06||-0.10|
|Navy||4 – 14||61.4||0.93||1.07||-0.14|
Although American has a slightly better in conference efficiency margin, Patriot League newbies Boston University are probably the favorites in this one by virture of the Patriot League rule which states the highest seed gets to host the conference title game. With each winning on the other's home floor, homecourt advantage is perhaps even more important than normal in the Patriot League tournament.
If you're hunting for a sleeper, you could do a lot worse than Colgate, who led the league in offense, ranks 3rd nationally in eFG, and ranks 3rd nationally in 3 point percentage, all while taking the 7th most threes in the country. If they can pull off the shocker and win the Patriot League, I have to think they immediately become the scariest 16 seed out there due to their prowess behind the arc.
I tabbed Army to win the league this year thanks to them welcoming back nearly every starter from last year's team (and thanks to it slipping my mind that BU was joining the Patriot League this year), but the Black Knights offense has cratered a bit this year after leading the league in eFG, offensive rebounding, and free throw rate a year ago. I'll likely be tabbing them potential league champs next year as well, thanks to Sophomore Kevin Ferguson, who is 4th nationally in eFG, and Freshman Tanner Omlid, who has the 2nd best steal rate in the country.
Although American led the league in EM, and is 4th best in the entire nation at shooting inside the arc, their turnover problems (343rd nationally) and the fact that Boston University gets to host the title game should they get there, means I am going to have to pick the Terriers to earn the NCAA tournament berth.