2014 Cinderella Casting: Patriot League Auto Bid

March 14, 2014

The Patriot League didn’t have to share the spotlight on Wednesday night. I’m not quite sure how the league has managed to do that in consecutive years. You’d think that another conference would jump at the chance to have a coveted prime time slot on ESPN (the Patriot League has a contract with CBS Sports Network).

Regardless, it makes my job easier.

Only one small conference bid to report on today. Let’s take a look at the most recent team to punch its ticket to the Big Dance.


Automatic Bid: American

Projected Seed: 15 or 16

Probability of being a Cinderella: Very Unlikely

A team that begins the season 3-7 and ends it on a 6-5 run doesn’t exactly scream “tournament ready” to most people. But that’s exactly what American did to end up as the Patriot League champions, and no one can take the tournament bid away now. Statistically, the Eagles aren’t actually that bad in some areas. A 49.5 percent field goal percentage is good for seventh best in the country, and the team is very unselfish averaging just over 15 assists per game.

The Eagles nearly knocked off No. 3 seed Villanova in its last tournament appearance in 2009, so there is reason to be cautious when counting them out completely. But what might be the undoing of American in this year’s tournament is the fact that the team could simply run out of gas. Four players average more than 30 minutes per game, a recipe for disaster against a team that will likely be physically superior. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles find a way to keep things interesting in the first half with good shooting, but it’d be something else entirely if they can keep the effort going for the entire game.

– K. Becks

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