But should Lehigh win at 15-13 Holy Cross (Real Time RPI: 177) - and get some help from Navy or Bucknell - Lehigh will be hosting a first-round game for the third straight year.
Think the athletic department is upbeat about Lehigh's chances at 3:30 p.m. at Worcester? Think again:
The Mountain Hawks last win over the Crusaders in Worcester was a 70-69 victory on February 11, 1998. Since then Lehigh has averaged 53 points per game with a high of only 67 in the 1999 meeting. The last time Lehigh defeated the Crusaders in Worcester Justin Maneri was eight years old and the number-one song in America was Celine Dion’s "My Heart Will Go On".
If Lehigh stands a chance in Worcester, it will depend on the play of senior F Phil Anderson, who was owned on Wednseday by Bucknell F Patrick Behan and only scored 2 points and 2 boards. As great as junior F Zahir Carrington is - and he got yet another double-double on Wednesday with 15 points and 12 boards - Lehigh needs help under there if they are to win any more basketball games this year. It may help that Holy Cross has wrapped up the No. 2 seed whatever happens on Saturday - but on "Senior Day", Crusader head coach Ralph Willard certainly won't want to end their regular-season careers with a loss.
If Lehigh wins, they will likely be the No. 4 seed if either Colgate or Army loses. If Lehigh, Colgate and Army all win, Lehigh would be the No. 5 team and travel to Hamilton next Wednesday. But if Lehigh loses, they could finish as low as No. 7 and face a return trip to Worcester next week.
The 22-6 Lady Hawks (Real Time RPI: 81), clinched the regular season Patriot League title by virtue of their 69-60 win over Bucknell. That, and the fact that Lehigh is hosting of the first two rounds of the women's Patriot League tourney, means the Lady Hawks have given themselves the best possible chance to head to the Dance - and with a perfect 13-0 record at home this year, this weekend's tilt against 13-15 Holy Cross (Real Time RPI: 184) will not only be for the seniors but for an undefeated regular season at home for the second time in their history.
Congratulations to the Lady Hawks - they sure earned the next two weeks playing at home.
Coach Sue Troyan will be starting the seniors - senior G Tricia Smith, senior G Ryan Ingalls, senior F Haly Crites, and senior C Melissa Rich - but don't be shocked if sophomore G Erica Prosser (14.7 ppg) and junior G Alex Ross (13.2 ppg) make a quick entrance.
All the games will be broadcasting live on lehighsports.com.