Holy Cross (19-13) at Brown (15-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 17, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pizzitola Sports Center (2)800 -- Providence, Rhode Island. Television: None. CIT Record: Holy Cross 0-0, Brown 0-0. Series Record: Holy Cross leads, 43-17.
GAME NOTES: The 2014 CollegeInsider.com Tournament begins on Monday night with a first-round matchup between the Holy Cross Crusaders and the Brown Bears at the Pizzitola Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
The winner will advance to the second round (March 21-22) to face an opponent to be determined.
Holy Cross logged a 19-13 record this season, which included a 12-6 mark in the Patriot League. The Crusaders, who are participating in a postseason tournament for the 25th time, but the first since 2007, come into this contest having dropped two of their last three games, including a 57-46 setback to NCAA Tournament-bound American University in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals.
At 15-13, Brown finished the 2013-14 campaign with a winning record, but the team lost its last three games, the most recent being a 98-93 overtime defeat against Ivy League champion Harvard on March 8. As a result, the Bears wound up an even 7-7 in Ivy play, but were rewarded with their fifth postseason appearance, and first since 2009. This is Brown's first time ever hosting a postseason game.
Holy Cross owns a 43-17 lead in the all-time series with Brown, which includes victories in seven of the last eight meetings. This is the first meeting since 2009, and the series at the Pizzitola Center is knotted at 4-4.
Holy Cross finished third in the Patriot League regular-season standings, despite being a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of offensive production. The Crusaders average 67.0 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .430 overall and .350 from 3-point range. The team's defensive approach has resulted in foes netting only 65.1 ppg, which is the third-best yield in the PL. Holy Cross is the league's second-best rebounding club, logging a +1.8 differential on the glass. Dave Dudzinski is one of the best all-around performers in the league, as he averages 15.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game -- the first figure ranking him second, and the latter first in the Patriot. Malcolm Miller (10.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) is HC's only other double-digit scorer, and he has a team-best 58 blocked shots, while the team as a whole ranks third in the PL with 122 blocks (3.8 per game).
Brown also has one its league's top scorers, as Sean McGonagill ranks second in the Ivy at 17.7 ppg, and he does his best to get his teammates involved in the action as well, as he ranks fourth with 3.8 apg. He is a 3-point shooting specialist, draining 40.6 percent of his long-range launches, helping the team convert 38.2 percent from distance, which is the second-best percentage in the league. Center Rafael Maia adds 9.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest to the mix, while freshman Leland King contributes 9.3 points and 5.0 boards per tilt. As a team, the Bears are scoring 71.4 ppg while permitting 67.2 ppg. They lead the Ivy League in both field goal percentage defense (.393) and 3- point field goal percentage defense (.293), as well as rebounding (39.8 rpg), while placing second in blocked shots (4.8 per outing).
Both teams have go-to guys in Dudzinski (Holy Cross) and McGonagill (Brown), so it will really be up to each supporting cast to make the difference. The Bears have been tough to beat at home (8-3), but the Crusaders have a winning record on the road (9-7). Expect Brown to escape with a narrow win and make its first-ever home postseason game a success.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Brown 69, Holy Cross 67
03/17 10:32:56 ET