2022 Patriot League men's basketball tournament preview: Colgate the heavy favorites again
Photo: Colgate athletics website

The 2022 Patriot League tournament kicks off tonight with one dominant storyline: Colgate. The Raiders are heavy favorites to reach the NCAA Tournament as they completed another superb season in the league.

Will anyone be able to keep up with the Raiders? Read about it here as VAVEL looks at how things should play out.

Tournament schedule

All games will be played at campus sites. ESPN+ will stream the first round and quarterfinal games while CBS Sports Network will televise the semifinals and final.

First round (March 1)

#9 Bucknell at #8 Lafayette, 7pm

#10 American at #7 Holy Cross, 7pm

Quarterfinals (March 3)

Bucknell/Lafayette at #1 Colgate, 7pm

#5 Army West Point at #4 Lehigh, 7pm

#6 Loyola (MD) at #3 Boston University, 7pm

American/Holy Cross at #2 Navy, 7pm

Semifinals (March 6)

The first semifinal will be played at 2pm with the second semifinal occurring at 4pm.

Final (March 8)

Semifinal winners, 7pm

The favorite

There is only one team that can be considered the favorite and that is Colgate. The Raiders are the powerhouse of the league, having compiled a 66-18 mark since 2018.

They're especially effective from three-point range as their top eight players all shoot at least 35% from beyond the arc. They have also scored 70 or more points in 10 of their 14 Patriot League games.

Coach Matt Langel took his team to Syracuse and came out with a win, showing you the quality of this team.

Contender

Navy finished second thanks to their outstanding defense. In the month of February, they allowed more than 64 points just once and that was to Colgate.

Injuries could be an issue as Greg Summers has only played four minutes in the last three games, but Sean Yoder has stepped up nicely. The Midshipmen beat a potential Tournament team in Furman, holding their high-powered offense to just 66 points.

Darkhorses

Boston University is the only team to beat Colgate in the league tournament since 2018, winning the 2020 championship game in upstate New York.

The Terriers never got the chance to dance as the NCAA's were cancelled, but the core of that team, including likely Player of the Year Suk Mathon, are still with the program.

Complimenting him are Javante McCoy, averaging 17.1 PPG, the team's leading scorer and Walter Whyte, who puts in 12.7 per contest.

Army is here despite a six-game losing streak in February, which cost them a home game in the quarterfinals. Jalen Rucker helped the Black Knights score the most points of any team against both Colgate and Navy this season.

Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon is retiring after 27 years at the helm and despite a 10-19 record and an eighth-place finish, the Leopards did play Colgate close in both games and upset Rutgers.

Seven-footer Neal Quinn has been dominant down low, scoring 14.6 points and averaging 7.4 rebounds per game.

Analysis

Colgate should win. They may not cruise as Navy is a stout defensive team, Army can score, Lafayette (their possible quarterfinal opponent) has the feel-good story of O'Hanlon's last ride, but the Raiders are prohibitive favorites.

It's dangerous to talk of a team's prospects in winning a game in the NCAA Tournament when they haven't gotten so far as the first step, but that's how it is with Langel and his squad. Their experience gained against Tennessee in 2019 and Arkansas last year should serve them well this time around.

Navy will likely wear down their opponents until the final, but Colgate has a dynasty going in Hamilton and they'll be back in the field of 68 when the tournament concludes.

Prediction: Colgate def. Navy

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