It was a relatively quiet week in the Patriot League, but there was still a bit of movement across the board.
While the top three teams remained the same, we have a new top-ranked team in the conference power rankings. The top two teams are set to square off this coming Saturday, which will only lead to some more movement next week, and beyond.
The conference itself seems to be in for an exciting race come March, as anyone can turn it on at any given time and make a run up the standings. We saw that this past week, as one team jumped up four spots and into the top five of the power rankings.
The New Year is already over a week old, and conference play is in full swing all across the country. We’ve seen our fair share of great games so far in 2017, and the frequency will only increase as the season moves closer to the NCAA Tournament in mid-March.
One conference, in particular, that has provided some exciting basketball over the first two weeks of conference play is the Patriot League. On opening night, four of the five road teams scored victories to open things up, while plenty of the games have been single-digit margins of victory.
Team rosters are decorated with star players, and there’s a ton of talent on display each and every night. While the usual suspects are either at, or near, the top of the standings after four games, the conference seems as though it could go any which way. As of Sunday night, all ten teams in the conference have at least one win in Patriot League play.
Based on the fact that the conference race could go several different directions, we felt as though it was time to see how the teams stack up.
In a rare Monday afternoon contest in December, the American Univ. Eagles welcomed the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks to town in what was the last non-conference home game for the Eagles.
Both the Hawks and Eagles were looking to build some positive momentum as the end of December quickly approaches. American Univ. entered the game on the heels of a win over the Youngstown State Penguins. That ended the Eagles’ two game losing streak, and gave them their second win of the year.
As for the Hawks, they were in the midst of a six-game road swing. The road hasn’t been to kind to Eastern Shore this season, as they entered the game 0-9 away from Hytche Arena. They were looking to end their three-game losing skid, and get back on the right track.
After the Hawks took a 5-2 lead early on, the Eagles held down their home court and maintained their advantage for most of the game.
Down the stretch, the Hawks were able to fight back and take a lead of their own, thanks in part to a technical foul given to the Eagles’ bench. However, the Eagles would not be denied.
Saturday afternoon’s tilt between the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks and the UCF Knights featured two teams trending in opposite directions.
On one side, the Hawks have struggled out of the gate in 2016-17, winning just one of their first nine games of the season. Their lone win came against Central Penn, an 87-74 victory that ended an eight-game losing streak that dated back to last season.
Including Saturday against the Knights, eight of the Hawks’ first ten games had been on the road.
On the flip side, the Knights are a team trending upwards early in the season, entering Saturday’s contest with a 6-1 record. Their lone loss was a 10-point loss to the Villanova Wildcats. UCF entered their matchup with the Hawks on a three game winning streak.
When the dust settled on Saturday evening, both trends would continue.
With the exhibition season in full swing, and coming to a close early this week, that can mean only one thing.
The 2016-17 college basketball regular season is just around the corner!
Things get underway Friday, November 11th at Noon EST with the first regular season game of the season, and there will be a plethora of talent on display across all 32 conferences all season long.
Before the season gets started, we decided to hand out some preseason hardware, in the form of our Conference Player of the Year award and All-Conference Teams.
Along with that, we have the College Court Report All-Americans, and the Mid-Major Player of the Year Preseason Watch List. Links to all of the conference awards and the Watch List can be found at the bottom of each article.