"I think it's a fair assessment based on our past couple of years and what we have returning," said Lange regarding Navy's preseason pick to finish sixth in the league. "You can't measure heart, commitment and team chemistry, but those are the things we are looking to help complement our talent and carry us through the season. I really don't put much credence into the preseason polls. Our goal is to play the best basketball we can by the end of the year."
Last season, Navy finished tied for sixth with Lafayette, producing a 5-9 conference mark and winning five of its last nine regular-season contests. The Mids pushed American to overtime in the league's postseason tournament, dropping a two-point decision to the Eagles. Navy finished the season ranked among the nation's top 50 in rebound margin (+5.1) and steals (8.9). Sophomore guards Corey Johnson (Anderson, Ind.) and Greg Sprink (Cardiff, Calif.), who were named to the Patriot League All-Rookie Team a year ago, return in 2005-06, as does senior captain Matt Fannin (Lakewood, Ohio), who paced Navy in scoring and rebounding.
After Bucknell became the first league team to win an NCAA Tournament contest a year ago, it's to no one's surprise that the Bison would be the preseason pick to repeat as the Patriot League champion in 2005-06. Bucknell earned 14 of the 16 first-place votes, which means every school's coach and SID voted for the Bison since each school was not permitted to vote for their own team. The Bison return 12 of their 13 letterwinners, including preseason All-Patriot League pick Charles Lee and Preseason Patriot League Player of the Year Chris McNaughton.
Holy Cross, who claimed the regular-season league title a year ago and turned in a 1-1 record in the NIT, secured the final two first-place votes. The Crusaders lost five letterwinners, including three starters, but will be led by 2004-05 Patriot League Player of the Year Kevin Hamilton, a preseason all-league selection heading into this season. Third year guard Keith Simmons, who garnered first-team all-league kudos a year ago, joins Hamilton on the preseason all-league team.
Lehigh picked up 65 points to finish third in the voting, while just four points separated fourth-place Colgate and fifth-place American. Though Navy and Lafayette tied for sixth at the end of last season, Navy garnered 16 more points than Lafayette, to earn the sixth spot on the poll, followed by Lafayette and Army.
The Mids, meanwhile, open their season Friday, Nov. 18, when they play host to Georgetown at Alumni Hall, tipping at 7:30 p.m.
2005-06 Patriot League Men's Basketball
Preseason Poll 2005 2005 PL School Pts. Record Record 1. Bucknell (14) 98 23-10 10-4 2. Holy Cross (2) 86 25-7 13-1 3. Lehigh 65 14-15 7-7 4. Colgate 59 12-16 7-7 5. American 55 16-12 8-6 6. Navy 42 9-19 5-9 7. Lafayette 26 9-19 5-9 8. Army 17 3-24 1-13 (#) - first-place votes 2005-06 Men's Basketball Preseason All-Patriot League Team Chris McNaughton, Jr., C, Bucknell (POY) Andre Ingram, Jr., G, American Kevin Hamilton, Sr., G, Holy Cross Charles Lee, Sr., G, Bucknell Keith Simmons, Jr., G, Holy Cross