Getty Images

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

Leave a comment
source: Getty Images
Getty Images

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

Louisville backcourt struggles in first scrimmage

Quentin Snider, Jerian Grant
Associated Press
Leave a comment

While a few teams did manage to hold special events for the official start of practice this weekend, most simply went about their business with drills and conditioning. One team that was the exception to all of this was Louisville, which held the first of its two intersquad scrimmages on Saturday. The Cardinals had a head start of sorts on the season, as they played six exhibition games in Puerto Rico this summer.

One hope heading into Saturday’s scrimmage was that guards Trey Lewis and Quentin Snider would have better chemistry than they did in Puerto Rico. But according to Jeff Greer of the Louisville Courier-Journal, that remains a work in progress for the Cleveland State transfer (Lewis) and rising sophomore (Snider).

They struggled in Puerto Rico, and they struggled again in Saturday’s Red-White scrimmage, the first public intrasquad practice since August. They played one half of the game together, paired with the presumed starting lineup with Mangok Mathiang out with an eye injury, a group that also included Damion Lee, Jaylen Johnson and Chinanu Onuaku.

That team lost the first half by 13 points to a younger group of Louisville players, and Lewis and Snider combined for eight points on 3-of-12 shooting, five turnovers, five steals, four assists and three rebounds.

“I thought (Snider) and (Lewis) did not play well together,” U of L coach Rick Pitino said. “They’ve got to get used to that. Neither guy made other guys better. That’s what they need to learn to do.”

As Greer also noted in his story the Cardinals have in recent years employed backcourt tandems in which both guards are capable of making plays for themselves and others. On the 2013 national champion team Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the way, with Smith being joined by Terry Rozier or Chris Jones the following season and Rozier/Jones being the grouping last season before the latter was dismissed from the team.

Once Jones was dismissed Snider saw more time on the court, and his development was one of the keys for a Louisville team that fell one win short of the Final Four. Louisville needs him to take another step forward heading into the 2015-16 season, because even with Lewis’ experience at the Division I level Snider has more experience playing in Pitino’s system.

But while Saturday’s scrimmage didn’t go as well as anyone involved hoped, there’s still plenty of time for Louisville to work out the kinks before they open the season November 13 against Samford.

Knee injury sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
Associated Press
Leave a comment

With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.