Navy dropped by far its worst game of the season on Wednesday night when the Mids (15-6, 6-2 Patriot League) were somehow upended by American (4-15, 2-6 PL). The loss snapped a six game winning streak for the Mids and dropped Navy out of a tie for first place in the league standings after Bucknell won on the same evening. American ranked 345th out of 346 teams in Division I in points per game, but Navy simply looked past a bad opponent and paid the price. The Mids must now regroup and push on as the second half of league play begins.
First up for Navy is a clash with Holy Cross. Here are the three keys:
1. Shake off Wednesday
Many will tell you that basketball season in league play is all about routine. The Mids routine was thrown out of the window last week as the game against Army at Madison Square Garden was postponed, leaving Navy without a game on Saturday. This was obviously not the sole reason for the loss against American, and it shouldn’t be used as an excuse, but it is worth noting that the Mids are 1-3 in games this season with more than four days off between games. Navy needs to get back to its routine as soon as possible. That will not happen this week, the rearranged Army game happens on Monday, but Navy must approach this contest as if the disappointment of Wednesday simply didn’t matter.
2. Watch out for Karl Charles
Holy Cross started the Patriot League season and 2-1, but the Crusaders have taken a huge step backwards in the weeks that have followed. Holy Cross is 1-5 in their last six games and was blown out in each of their last two games with a 76-61 loss at Colgate being followed by a 17 point defeat at home against Loyola on Wednesday. The player to watch though is rapidly improving freshman Karl Charles. Charles had 17 points and eight rebounds against Loyola in a game where at times it looked like he was the only Crusader that had come to play. The 6-feet-6 freshman wing has great range and he leads all rookies in the Patriot League in scoring at 11.2 points per game.
3. Score 60 points
The most cut and dry statistic in college basketball this season sits with the Mids. Navy is 15-6 on the season. When Navy scores at least 60 points in a game this year the Mids are 15-0. When Navy fails to meet the 60 point barrier the team is 0-6. Navy can win lower scoring games because the defense, ranked 10th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 61.8 points per game, is so good. Navy however cannot win if they score less than 60 points in a game. It will be interesting to see if this statistic continues to hold true as the season progresses.