Handicapping the Patriot League down the Stretch

The Patriot League is one of the most fun conferences to follow year in and year out. You’ve got Loyola, a national champion and perennial contender. You’ve got Army and Navy, one of the greatest rivalries between two colleges, period. Three Pennsylvania schools who hate each other in Lehigh, Bucknell and Lafayette. Colgate and BU, who threaten every year, and Holy Cross who is only a couple good recruiting classes away.

Plus, all their games can be streamed on the Patriot League Network for free. It’s incredible. With electric on-air personalities like Morgan Uber and this bro, it’s a fun watch.

The Patriot League is like the AFC North of college lacrosse: heavy-hitting teams who really dislike each other. With only six spots in the conference tournament for a chance at that coveted AQ, the home stretch of the season is always a wild ride between these schools. And just look at the standings, this year is no exception.

Team Conf. Ovr.
Lehigh 4-0 7-2
Loyola 3-0 5-2
Navy 3-1 4-4
Bucknell 3-1 5-3
Army 2-1 5-2
Colgate 1-2 5-3
Boston 0-3 4-5
Holy Cross 0-4 1-7
Lafayette 0-4 2-7

 

So without further ado, here are your odds for who will take home this year’s Patriot League Championship and earn an automatic berth in the big dance.

Loyola (3-0) Odds: 3-1

Key Results: Beat Navy. Remaining PL games: Bucknell, Colgate, Lehigh, BU, Army

They’ve got the hardest part of their schedule ahead of them but they also have the conference’s most prolific offense. They’ve got veteran leadership from Pat Spencer, Jay Drapeau and Jacob Stover, all guys with multiple Patriot League titles under their belts. They’ve done it before and they know what it takes to do it again. But to take home the trophy, the Greyhounds will need more out of Mike Orefice at the faceoff X and better wing play as well. They have yet to beat a team that scored double-digits and faceoffs are a big reason why.

Lehigh (4-0) Odds: 5-1

Key Results: Beat Colgate, Army. Remaining PL games: Navy, BU, Loyola, Bucknell

The Mountain Hawks have quietly been rolling, all the way up to the 12 spot in this week’s Maverik Media Poll. They’re riding strong play from a balanced starting attack, which has combined for a total of 106 points through 9 games. Not too shabby. However, in their two out-of-conference losses to UNC and Rutgers, the rest of their offense was pretty silent. With the meat of their PL schedule looming, Lehigh will have to go up against some more tough defenses.

Army (2-1) Odds: 7-1

Key Results: Beat Lafayette, Holy Cross, Lost to Lehigh. Remaining PL games: Colgate, Bucknell, BU, Navy, Loyola

Army is near and dear to me for the production they get out of a couple of NoVa boys in Nate Jones and David Symmes. I mean look at this hoss:

They kept it close against Syracuse and Lehigh, which is impressive. But last week they had to grind out a really ugly one against a struggling Holy Cross team. Watching that mudfight made me concerned that they might not get over the hump and actually beat some of these big name squads.

Bucknell (3-1) Odds: 8-1

Key Results: Beat Colgate, BU, Lost to Navy. Remaining PL games: Loyola, Army, Lafayette, Lehigh

A homer pick for sure, but I believe the Bison are built for a postseason push. Led by the nation’s second-leading scorer Will Sands, the Bison have a strong offense that also includes Sean O’Brien, who has emerged as arguably the best O-middie in the PL, and Connor O’Hara, a great finisher on attack. Quickstick Q&A alum Jarret Witzal has also been solid at the faceoff X. They’ll need a little more consistency out of a defense led by all-conference defender Matt Gilray and more stability in goal. Coach Ferdojaka has shown that he is not scared to pull his tendy when opponents go on runs, but ideally Christian Klipstein will be able to stay between the pipes for the Herd the rest of the way.

Navy (3-1) Odds: 10-1

Key Results: Beat BU, Bucknell, Lost to Loyola. Remaining PL games: Lehigh, Holy Cross, Colgate, Army

Expectations were high this year for the return of midfielder Casey Rees. But he has had a quiet season, only finding the net five times in 8 games. Instead, they have relied on the emergence of freshman attackman Christian Daniel and strong play from junior middie Greyson Torain. They’ve been rolled by the ranked opponents they’ve faced so far. Until Navy can prove that they can run with the big dogs, I don’t have a lot of faith in their ability to make a run. They’ll need to lean on their physical defense, which held it down in their best win of the season over Bucknell.

Colgate (1-2) Odds: 20-1

Key Results: Beat BU, Lost to: Bucknell, Lehigh. Remaining PL games: Army, Loyola, Navy, Holy Cross, Lafayette

Goodness can this team fill up a stat sheet. When they’ve looked good, they’ve looked really good, especially in their convincing 16-9 win over BU. They have balanced scoring and a strong faceoff man in Colin Orr. Like many of these teams, if they can pull it all together and perform consistently against the league’s best, they have some potential to make a run.

BU (0-3) Odds: 24-1

Key Results: Lost to Navy, Colgate, Bucknell. Remaining PL games: Lafayette, Lehigh, Army, Loyola, Holy Cross

BU was ranked to start the season but have left a lot of questions unanswered. In their fifth year of D-I lacrosse, they lost a lot of leadership with the graduation of their inaugural recruiting class. Freshman phenom Chris fifty shades of Gray has been dominant but the rest of the team has at times looked like they have their hands tied. BU will also look to improve their consistency to get back in the hunt.

1/30: Quickstick predicts Chris Gray will be the nation’s best freshman

Holy Cross and Lafayette, sorry pals. You’re probably out of it.

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