Tournaments at a glance

March 08, 2003

Tournaments at a glance

Patriot men

Site: Show Place Arena, Upper Marlboro

When: Today and tomorrow; championship game Friday at home court of highest seed.

2002 champion: Holy Cross

2003 favorite: Holy Cross. A team that has acquitted itself well recently against the likes of Kentucky and Kansas in the NCAA tournament, Holy Cross was the class of the regular season, losing only once. The Crusaders are tall, smart and talented and enter the event on a nine-game roll.

Dark horse: Lehigh. The most upgraded squad in the conference, Lehigh improved by 11 wins over a 5-23 record and swept first-round foe Bucknell. Senior Matt Logie is a deadly long-range shooter.

Players to watch: Steven Miles and Glenn Stokes, American. Miles won the league scoring title (16.4 ppg) and Stokes (15.1) wasn't far behind.

Outlook: Despite a senior-laden roster, Navy has had another difficult year. Once a force in the league, the Midshipmen have fallen to the second tier. And they have never beaten first-round opponent American in conference play.

- Kent Baker

Northeast women

Site: Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Conn.

When: Today (quarterfinals), tomorrow (semifinals), March 15 (championship at site of higher seed)

2002 champion: St. Francis (Pa.)

2003 favorite: St. Francis (Pa.). The top-seeded Red Flash (16-2, 20-7 overall) appeared headed for an 18-0 run through the NEC until it encountered the "lost weekend" - the record-breaking, 28-inch February snowfall in the Baltimore area. St. Francis lost its only two league games that weekend, falling to Mount St. Mary's, 82-72, Saturday night before the big storm hit, and then to UMBC, 52-49, on Tuesday night after being marooned three days.

Dark horse: UMBC. The Retrievers (9-9, 12-15) may be the strongest No. 7 seed ever in the tournament, thanks to senior Shalayna Johnson, who will officially become the conference's scoring leader (22.6) after today's game is over.

Player to watch: Beth Swink, St. Francis (Pa). This 6-3 sophomore center should be playing deep into the tournament. She finished the regular season on a tear, being named NEC Player of the Week last week after averaging 26.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

Outlook: It would be crowd-pleasing to see a Swink-Johnson showdown in the title game, but Johnson probably can't carry her Retrievers that far.

- Bill Free

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