At first glance, one would wonder how Holy Cross with a record of 14-19 and only recording five wins in the Patriot League could even be playing a play in game. The answer of course is that the Crusaders won the Patriot League Tournament by beating four teams, Loyola of Maryland 72-67, played in Baltimore. In the second game of the tourney the Crusaders downed Becknell 77-72 in double overtime, in Lewisburg, Pa.). Three days later Holy Cross downed the Cadets of the United States Military Academy 60-38 in a game played in West Point, NY then on March 9, the Crusaders defeated Leigh 59-56, again on the road in Bethlehem, Pa.
A team that wins four games on the road is a feat in itself especially for a team that only won five conference games during the regular season; they must be much better than their regular season record indicates.
For us living on the West Coast, we have the reverse bias of those living in the East. A game that starts at 1 p.m. Easter is way too early for us late risers on the Pacific coast. So unless a person is glued to a TV set and watching every hoops game broadcast, it would easy not to know what Holy cross did.
Holy Cross won the National Championship in 1947 and made a repeat appearance in the Final-4 the next year before losing to Oklahoma.
When one thinks of Holy Cross, names like Bob Cousy and Tommy Heisohn pop up. Both played for the Crusaders in the 60s for the Boston Celtics.
However, Holy Cross has not won a game in its eight appearances since 1956.
Should the beat the Jaugars, it would be indeed a miracle.
Southern has some names out of the past too. Bob “Butterbean” Love, best known as the Chet Walker’s counterpart and also alongside of Norm Van Leer, Jerry Sloan and briefly with Artis Gilmore on some great Chicago Bulls teams of the 70s.
Avery Johnson played for the Jags in the 80s before his playing days as Spur and coach of the Mavericks and Nets and now the coach of Alabama.
Southern has been to the NCAAs eight times since 1981 but has only one game (Georgia Tech, first round, 1983), however this year Southern won the Southwestern Atlantic Conference.
On paper it would appear that Southern should overcome Holy Cross, in order to face the Oregon Ducks on Friday but we’ll all find out on Wednesday afternoon.