Photo Loyola University Maryland
By Mike Harris
BALTIMORE — Never. It has never happened. Loyola Men’s Basketball has never won a Patriot League title.
Well, “never” may be a little dramatic in this case given that Loyola only joined the Patriot League in 2014. However, the Hounds have come out empty-handed in their first three cracks at a league title, with their best finish coming last season. The squad finished in eighth place with a final conference record of 8-10. While an eighth place finish does not warrant a parade, the Hounds have shown improvement since joining the conference.
This season seems to be more of the same. The Hounds have shown growth once again. The team currently owns a 5-5 record, and has played a tough non-league slate, facing teams such as Notre Dame and Creighton University.
To this point the Hounds have not faced a Patriot League opponent. In the coming weeks, the Greyhounds will turn their attention towards league play.
The team will look to improve on its 8 win, 10 loss 2015-2016 conference record when Loyola opens Patriot’s League play against American University on Dec. 30. As Junior guard Matt Staubi said, Patriot League teams typically do not earn at-large NCAA bids, so league play will be pivotal in Loyola’s attempt to return to the NCAA tournament.
Loyola University Maryland has made two NCAA tournament appearances in program history. Loyola earned its last berth via their MAAC championship in 2012. Their appearance was cut short however, as Loyola was downed by top-ranked Ohio State by a score of 78-59.
Loyola will open Patriot League play on December 30, when they visit American University. The Greyhound faithful will have to wait until the new year to see the club in action at Reitz Arena. Lafayette College will travel to Loyola on January 2 for the Hounds’ league home opener.
The club will look to build off of its non-league success when Patriot League play this season. As junior guard Matt Staubi said, the team will look to build off of their non-league success, and improve in order to put itself in the best position for a March Madness run.
Loyola has been led by senior guard Jarred Jones. Jones is currently averaging 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Jones carried the club to a thrilling overtime victory against Binghamton on Dec. 10.
The Hounds will attempt to carry this momentum into their next contest University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and further, into conference play. Can the Hounds make history and etch their names into the Patriot League record books? Only time will tell.