Perennial powers are still strong, but the league’s top teams may have to make room for some emerging contenders
A new coach for the reigning league champion, a lawsuit from a former coach with the most conference championships in league history, and a more wide-open title chase make this season in the Patriot League one to watch. Lots of good basketball and maybe some drama on and off the court too. Buckle up, Patriot fans, this year looks to be a wild ride.
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Let’s take a look back before we look ahead: Bucknell and American finished tied atop the standings at 16-2 in league play last season, a full four games ahead of third-place Lehigh. The Bison went on to win the conference championship over American and cement their place as an annual title contender. It was their second league crown in three seasons.
Those finalists also landed the top two spots in 2017-2018, with the Eagles claiming the Patriot League title over the Bison. Coach Megan Gebbia has established her AU team as a consistent favorite for top league honors too.
Who are the favorites this year? How will Bucknell and American continue their run of success? Each team lost their most talented post player and a key do-it-all wing to graduation. Are there other contenders ready to stake a claim? Teams are tougher from top to bottom than ever before. And new faces and roles in the coaching ranks bring fresh questions for both Bucknell and Holy Cross.
Can Holy Cross set aside the distraction of a lawsuit from its former coach to climb the league ladder? There’s talent in Worcester and perhaps a little drama as well. Lehigh returns four starters from a third-place finish a year ago; they look like serious contenders. Can their senior star Camryn Buhr lead the Mountain Hawks to the championship for the first time in a decade? How about the Terriers of Boston University? Former UConn assistant coach Marisa Moseley led BU to an unexpected season a year ago. Will she take them a step further? Let’s take a look at each team and learn what’s ahead for the Patriot League. It may be a year to expect the unexpected.
Here are our pre-season predictions: