Wednesday, Sunday and March 13
PLAYER TO WATCH
Garrison Carr, American
Teammate Derrick Mercer deserved league player of the year honors, but Carr is as likely as anyone to score 25 in a crucial game. The senior leads the Patriot League in 3-pointers (95) and ranks second in scoring (17.5) behind Navy’s Kaleo Kina. AU likely would turn to Carr if it needs a late shot to extend its season.
The Eagles were the preseason favorites and lived up to the expectations once conference play arrived. AU boasts arguably the league’s best backcourt with Mercer and Carr, and it will enjoy the benefit of remaining at Bender Arena for the entirety of the league tournament. The top seed has won this tournament five of the last six years.
The Midshipmen are capable of beating any team in the league but also of losing to any team. They are 11-5 in games decided by six points or less. While that can’t have a calming effect on coach Billy Lange, it’s unlikely Navy will be an easy out for anyone. Kina and Chris Harris are dangerous presences on the wings, and the uptempo Mids will be a headache if they have a good shooting night.
MOST TO GAIN
The Crusaders are considered one of the Patriot League’s elite programs because of their success this decade, but they have reached only one NCAA tournament since their PL three-peat in 2003. It’s a typical Holy Cross team - rugged, physical and committed to defense - and capable of springing the upset needed to win a league title.