American University (10-19) at Army (15-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 6, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Christl Arena (5,043) -- West Point, New York. Television: None. Home Record: American 7-6, Army 8-4. Away Record: American 3-13, Army 6-9. Neutral Record: American 0-0, Army 1-1. Conference Record: American 5-9, Army 8-6. Series Record: American leads, 24-5.
GAME NOTES: The fourth-seeded Army Black Knights will host just their second Patriot League Tournament game since 2007, as they take on the fifth-seeded American University Eagles in quarterfinal action at Christl Arena on Wednesday.
Advancing into the semifinals seems attainable, as Army swept the regular- season series against American with a pair of double-digit wins. Still, it is the Eagles that hold a huge advantage in the all-time series, leading 24-5. The winner of this game moves on to Saturday's semifinal round against either Navy or top-seeded Bucknell.
The Eagles struggled in 2012-13, with a mere 10-19 overall record. The conference slate proved to be equally challenging with a mere 5-9 record. American limped into the postseason, closing out the year with four straight losses.
On the other side, Army has played extremely well down the stretch. Despite losing the regular-season finale at Lehigh (81-75), the Black Knights had won a season-high five straight games prior to that. Overall, Army finished up a game over .500 overall (15-14), with an 8-6 league ledger.
Jeff Jones' Eagles certainly had a down season, with this being just the fourth losing season in Jones' 13 years at the helm. The major problem facing American all season long has been a lack of scoring depth. The team enters postseason play averaging a meager 58.3 ppg, 335th out of 345 Division I programs. While that has certainly landed the team in the loss column more often than not, American has shown flashes of solid defensive play, limiting foes to just 60.7 ppg this year. Second-Team All-Patriot League forward Stephen Lumpkins has had a strong senior season, leading the Eagles in both scoring and rebounding (14.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg), ranking second in the conference on the glass. Fellow senior Daniel Munoz (10.4 ppg) rounds out the team's double-figure scorers, although sophomore John Schoof (9.7 ppg) is a dangerous long-range threat, leading the Patriot League in both 3-pointers made (2.6 per game) and 3-point accuracy (.511).
Army's strong season earned head coach Zach Spiker the Patriot League Coach of the Year. It was Army's most successful season in almost three decades, entering the postseason with a winning record for the first time since 1984-85. The team was paced on the floor by senior Ella Ellis, who earned First-Team All-Patriot League honors after averaging 18.0 ppg (second in the conference). Ellis has really elevated his scoring of late, netting 30+ points in three of the final four games. Ellis was aided this season by freshman Kyle Wilson (13.0 ppg), who was recently named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Behind the play of Army's top scoring duo, the team comes into the postseason averaging a steady 72.8 ppg.
The Black Knights are led by one of the conference's top offensive performers. The Eagles have been woeful on the road this season (3-13) and haven't really challenged Army in the two meetings earlier. Expect the hometown Knights to advance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Army 70, American 57
03/06 10:36:04 ET