Navy enters the last two games of the regular season just one game out of the fifth place spot in the Patriot League Men's standings. If the men are to win a Patriot League Tournament game for the first time since 2001, it might actually be good to finish fifth.
Finishing sixth or lower would put them against Bucknell, Holy Cross, and/or Lehigh. Those teams have proven to be tough match-ups for Navy so far this year. Last year, Navy took American to overtime before succumbing to the Eagles. Navy has already defeated American this year, and would have to defeat the Eagles on Thursday, Colgate Saturday, and then hope American can defeat Lafayette on Saturday on the road.
If form holds, Navy (as a six-seed) would likely face Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks have to play at Bucknell and Holy Cross -- good luck! If HC wins out and Lehigh loses at Bucknell, HC wins the tie-breaker and would win the second seed. If there is any gym Navy doesn't want to go to, it's the Hart Center on the campus of The College of the Holy Cross.
Meanwhile on the women's side, Navy is in sole possession of fourth place. With two games remaining against foes who trail them in the standings, the Mids are in control of their own destiny. A likely match-up with Colgate, Lehigh or American awaits.
The Navy women are the wild-card in this tournament. This has been a real positive step forward this year for Tom Marryott's team. At 6-6 in league play, and 13-12 overall an upper-division finish represents just how much progress has been made in a relatively short time. Lately, what has been impressive is how many people are making big contributions. Kate Hobbs and Carly Meyer have stepped up large and if they play like this, Navy is one of several teams who could lay claim to a Patriot League Title.
Looking at the Patriot League, can you do any better than Maggie Dixon has at Army? She got the job late, has several freshmen who are playing and they are 10-2 in conference. If she's not coach of the year, there must be some hanging chads involved.
The worst thing about facing teams like Bucknell and Holy Cross is when you win, no one will play you. Bucknell, in an effort to get quality out-of-conference games, played at Duke. HC is rumored to be heading there in 2006-07, and have been told by many teams, "thanks for the call, but we can't play you", leaving the Crusaders with several holes to fill in their non-conference slate. Boston College has pulled out of its contract with HC. Ralph Willard has always been willing to play anyone, anywhere, and now no one will play his Crusaders.
Perhaps we'll see more games in the regular season like George Mason-HC and in an attempt to get more mid-majors additional games, a Patriot League-CAA Challenge. The schools are geographically located in a great region. Perhaps at Old Dominion's new arena in Norfolk, Navy vs. William and Mary, and Old Dominion vs. Bucknell. You geographically find other match-ups as well and play double-headers or just play all the games at home sites. Holy Cross vs. Northeastern, Drexel-Lehigh etc. With the CSTV's and ESPNU's of the world out there, they all need programming.
On the National scene, it's time to start speculating on seeds for the NCAA's. As they like to say, on the number one line, Duke, UCONN, Villanova and Memphis as of now. The problem for UCONN and or Villanova is the game remaining with each other and the Big East tourney. If one of those two lose twice, could it cost them a number one seed? Frankly, both have played better schedules than Memphis has in a suspect Conference USA, and would be better number one seeds.
Put Texas, Gonzaga, the Big Ten winner (if it's Ohio State or Illinois), and I guess George Washington. West Virginia even has an outside chance with a Big East Tournament run. Tennessee could still find its way this high with an SEC Tournament title.