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2014 Patriot League Tournament Preview: Can Boston U. win first season in Patriot?

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The 2014 Patriot League Tournament kicks off Monday night with a pair of preliminary contests. Back in October, newcomer Boston University was viewed as the favorite, and thanks to its strong finish BU enters the field as the top seed. Despite holding home-court advantage, it will be far from easy for the Terriers. American University has had a strong start to conference play, but stumbled as of late. With Jesse Reed and Tony Wroblicky on the roster, the Eagles can still make a run over the next 10 days. Bucknell enters the tournament as the league’s hottest team, while Holy Cross had greatly exceeded preseason expectations. Army and Lehigh, Nos. 5 and 6 seed, have the ability to cause some chaos in this year’s bracket.

It’s been an unpredictable Patriot League season so far, why should the postseason tournament be any different?

(MORE: Browse through all of our conference tournament previews)

The Bracket

When: March 3-12

Where: Campus sites (higher seed)

Final: March 12, 7:00 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Favorite: Boston University

The Terriers entered their first season in the Patriot League as the preseason favorite. There was a rough patch midway through conference play when Patriot League contender American handed BU at 30-point loss. Ten days later, Lehigh gave the Terriers their second loss in four games. Since Boston University has won seven out of eight, with its only defeat to red-hot Bucknell. The BU core of D.J. Irving, Dom Morris, Maurice Watson, Jr., and John Papale have home-court advantage through out the Patriot League title.

And if they lose?: Bucknell

Boston University could potentially play Bucknell is the semifinals, which would be a difficult matchup for the Terriers. The two teams split the regular season meeting, both games decided by a combined 13 points. The Bison graduated an incredible senior class, specifically Mike Muscala. After losing to Holy Cross on Feb. 9, the Bison sat 5-7 in the league. Since then, Bucknell has won six straight — including games over BU and American — to close out the season, entering the Patriot League tournament with a lot of momentum. If they get by BU, there’s a good chance the Bison can keep this streak rolling into the NCAA tournament.


  • American:  Started off conference play 10-0, but reliance on starters — three of which average 34 or more minutes per game — has caused the Eagles to cool off since the start of February.
  • Holy Cross: A surprising team this season, the Crusaders ended the regular season third in the Patriot League. Holy Cross has won in different ways, and have relied on more than just Dave Dudzinski in some of those victories.


  • Maurice Watson Jr., Boston University: One of the more underrated floor generals in the country, leads his team in scoring, assists and steals.
  • Cameron Ayers, Bucknell: The Patriot League Player of the Year has scored in double figures 27 times this season, averaging 15.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
  • Dave Dudzinski, Holy Cross: The senior forward has gone for 20 or more six times, including 20 points in the last meeting with BU. He recorded a double-double against the Terriers in the first meeting.

CBT Prediction: Boston University over Holy Cross

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A few tournaments are still going on

Justin Jenifer, Charles Jackson
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GAME OF THE DAY: George Washington vs. No. 24 Cincinnati, 1:30 p.m.

Two 6-0 teams clash at the Barclays Center in what could be an important game for NCAA tournament resumes of both teams. The Bearcats picked up their most legitimate win over Nebraska, but the Colonials pose as a more real threat after they beat Virginia at home earlier this season. Cincinnati hasn’t shot the ball well in recent wins, but they’re beating up opponents on the glass and the defense has been solid. George Washington is coming off of a win over Tennessee in which they held off the Volunteers in the second half. The Colonials have lost 20 of their last 23 against ranked opponents, but another win over a top team would look great for them going forward.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 4 Iowa State vs. Illinois, 6:00 p.m. (CBSSN)

This game is apart of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida as the Illini could desperately use a win after a 3-3 start. Illinois head coach John Groce and his team are feeling the pressure for a big win on a neutral site after falling to North Florida, Providence and Chattanooga earlier in the season. The No. 4 Cyclones easily dispatched Virginia Tech earlier in the event and have found a nice balance on offense with the emergence of senior big man Jameel McKay inside.


  • N0. 2 Maryland has struggled to put away teams early at times this season and they’ll try to change that behavior when they host Cleveland State.
  • Staying in the Big Ten, No. 16 Purdue hosts Lehigh. With a game at Pitt and against New Mexico looming, could this be a trap game for the Boilers?
  • Nebraska and Tennessee take the floor in consolation action at the Barclays Center. The Huskers need someone besides Shavon Shields and Andrew White to step up in the scoring column while Tennessee is getting huge numbers from senior guard Kevin Punter.
  • Two 4-0 teams will meet in Brooklyn as Louisville takes on Saint Louis (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Neither team has faced a significant test this season and this is the Cardinals’ first game away from home.
  • An intriguing night game to keep an eye on is Belmont traveling to BYU (8:00 p.m.). The Bruins are as well-coached as any team in the country and forward Evan Bradds has been playing great ball to start the season. The Cougars don’t have a high scorer like they did in the past, but Kyle Collinsworth is a triple-double threat every time he steps on the floor and BYU has a lot of weapons around him.
  • UAB and Virginia Tech battle in one of the more intriguing consolation games of the Emerald Coast Classic. Both teams are coming off of disappointing losses but have a shot to make things better on the trip with a solid win on Saturday.


  • Bryant at Georgetown, 11:00 a.m. (FS2)
  • Bucknell at Penn State , 12:00 p.m.
  • Tennessee-Martin vs. Mississippi State, 12:00 p.m. (SEC Network)
  • Ole Miss at Bradley, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • Old Dominion at VCU, 3:00 p.m.
  • Hawaii at Texas Tech, 3:00 p.m.
  • Kent State at Pitt, 3:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • SIU-Edwardsville at Butler, 4:00 p.m.
  • Georgia at Seton Hall, 6:30 p.m.
  • Western Illinois at Creigton, 7:00 p.m.
  • Colorado State vs UTEP, 7:30 p.m.

VIDEO: Kris Dunn wills Providence to win over No. 11 Arizona

Kris Dunn, Elliott Pitts
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Kris Dunn spent the first 35 minutes of Friday night’s game against No. 11 Arizona in foul trouble, splitting his time between sitting on the bench and trying to avoid finding himself, again, on the wrong side the whistle.

With 11 minutes left in the game, and with Dunn yet to find a rhythm, the all-american point guard was whistled for his fourth foul as he battled for a rebound with Arizona’s Mark Tollefsen. Head coach Ed Cooley say his superstar beside his for six game minutes, time enough for Arizona to turn a 49-47 deficit into a 58-54 lead.

There were just over five minutes left when Dunn reentered the second semifinal of the Wooden Legacy, and he proceeded to show everyone in the country why he was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Providence had nine possessions after he reentered the game. Dunn scored 11 points and had a pair of assists on those eight possessions, and if Ben Bentil had stuck a wide-open three — that was setup by Dunn — the Friars would have scored on all nine.

In total, Dunn was responsible for all 15 Friar points in a game-changing, 15-7 run in the final 4:30. It was capped off by this Kobe-in-his-prime-esque game-winner:

The win for Providence is huge for a couple of reasons:

  • Dunn showed a killer instinct against a marquee opponent, something that we didn’t necessarily see out of him a season ago. He wasn’t going to let his team lose, and given that Providence doesn’t have anyone else that can consistently create good shots, they are going to need that from him a lot this year.
  • It makes a statement for the Friars. Arizona is overrated at No. 11 in the country, yes, but going out on national television against an elite program and getting this kind of performance from Dunn is a confidence-booster and a tone-setter. Providence hasn’t been accustomed to winning in recent years. This is a way to set a trend.
  • Ben Bentil continues to play like a star. Dunn had 19 points and eight assists on Friday, but Bentil followed up a 24-point performance in the win over Evansville with 21 critical points on Friday.

This win sets up a matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence on Sunday night, which means that Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn — the two best players in the country, sorry Ben Simmons — will be going head-to-head.

Oh. Hell. Yes.

Here is all of Kris Dunn’s work in the final 4:30: