Most of the weekend action will be taking place a day later than usual, but the women's basketball, men's basketball, and wrestling teams all need big wins - and two of them against "that school in Easton", no less. - to go to the Patriot League (or EIWA) tournaments in shape for a shot at the NCAAs.
The women's team - who enjoyed their first 20 win season in 19 years with a 71-42 domination of Colgate on Wednesday - look to extend their Patriot League lead Saturday over American (who lost 60-58 in overtime to Army on Wednesday) at 1:00 p.m. at Kirby Field House where they take on the 8-18 Leopards. While it's tempting to look at the statistics and project an easy Lehigh victory - with the game notes helpfully pointing out that Lafayette's loss to Lehigh triggered a 7 game losing streak for them, and a "tale of the tape" pointing the advantage to Lehigh on *every single statistic* - whenever Lehigh and Lafayette meet in "The Rivalry", it's a time to throw out the records and statistics and expect a close game. Still, look for senior G Tricia Smith (7.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and senior F Haly Crites (5.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg) to try to potentially finish their careers against Lafayette with a bang today.
Speaking of the women's basketball team, it's worth mentioning that the Patriot League women's basketball tournament will be held at Stabler Arena in Bethelhem, PA two weeks from now, announced by the executive director of the Patriot League, the mayors of Bethlehem and Easton, and representatives from St. Luke's hospital in a big press conference this week. Of the highlights, March 7th has been declared "Patriot League Women's Basketball Day" in the Lehigh Valley.
Sunday is when Lehigh's men's basketball and wrestling teams take over, in their regular season home finales before the Patriot League/EIWA championships.
At 12:00 p.m., broadcast around the world on ESPNU, the 15-10 men's basketball team will be looking to win to keep their chances of a first round home playoff game alive against 7-19 Lafayette. While Lehigh's 49-40 "defensive struggle" against Colgate wasn't even the lowest scoring men's basketball game in the state on Wednesday (Penn State 38, Illinois 33), the win has kept Lehigh's hope of getting to the Patriot League tournament as the No. 4 (or, in the best case scenario, No. 3) intact. Once again, look to the seniors for big games: senior F Phil Anderson (7.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and senior G Matt Szalachowski (1.3 ppg, 5 points, 2 rebounds vs. Army) to play big games.
As if two games against our archrival wasn't enough, the No. 8-ranked Lehigh wrestlers hold their home dual finale against No. 25 Penn - and while Lehigh has clinched the best EIWA wrestling record already, it would be an amazing achievement to go 9-0 against EIWA wrestling foes going into the EIWA wrestling championships. While it should be exciting to see if Lehigh will be able to do it, certainly all eyes will be on No. 15-ranked senior 149 lb Trevor Chinn, no only wrestling his final home dual as a senior but will be facing one of Penn's better wrestlers: No. 11-ranked Cesar Grajales, also a senior. Chinn lost the only time he faced Grajales in 2007 - and it could be a preview of the EIWA championship at 149 as well.
All games will be broadcast on lehighsports.com, and (as already noted) the men's basketball game will also be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.