I loosely follow Patriot League basketball for the same reason that everyone who loosely follows Patriot League basketball loosely follows Patriot League basketball: I read John Feinstein's The Last Amateurs and loved it. The book chronicled the '99-'00 season in the league and I read it right when it came out, but I can't imagine that it's already dated. It's the Everybody Poops of college sports literature.
Just sayin', if you're so bored that you're reading this blog...might be a better option out there.
This year's Patriot title game was fortunate enough to feature the league's two oldest and biggest rivals: Lehigh and Lafayette. The campuses of the rivals are located just 15 miles apart and they've met 213 times on the hardwood, but this was the first time they'd played with a conference title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
In the end it was a freshman and a senior who lifted Lehigh, the league's regular season champion, to a 74-59 victory and its first trip to the big dance since 2004. C.J. McCollum (the freshman) scored a game-high 20 points while Zahir Carrington (the senior) added 18 and 10 rebounds.
In standard post-rivalry fashion, Carrington had the following to say after the game:
"There was nothing to leave out there," Carrington said. "This is such a long time coming for us. No offense to those guys, but they just didn't want it as bad as we did."
I'd say this statement might come back to haunt Carrington, but he dunked on his arch-rival - whom he'll never have to play again - approximately 75 times in a league championship game victory, so...spout away, young man. When Kentucky drills you in the first round and someone asks you in the postgame press conference how it fells, tell the world that Lafayette sucks and will never beat you again.
Evan Turner, ditto.