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NCAA Basketball: Picking winners of first 15 conference tournaments of 2023-24 season

Championship Week part 1 is here and I have taken my best shot at trying to pick which teams will win their leagues and get their automatic bids into the NCAA tournament.

Jan 6, 2024; Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA; James Madison Dukes head coach Mark Byington, right, and
Jan 6, 2024; Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA; James Madison Dukes head coach Mark Byington, right, and / Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
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Patriot League

Dates: March 5th-13th
Location: Campus Sites
Top Seed: Colgate Raiders
Winner: Colgate Raiders

There may not be a conference tournament pick that I am sure of this season. Colgate has dominated the league for the last five seasons and was so good this year that they clinched the league two weeks before the conference tournament began. The Raiders do not have their typical offensive firepower this year, especially from deep, but they do have a stat sheet stuffer and the best player in the Patriot League in point guard Braedon Smith.

Smith does a little of everything for head coach Matt Langel. He is the leading scorer, and assist guy, but he is also an elite rebounder for his size. Smith makes playing Colgate very hard as no one in the league can guard him straight up. Colgate has the best roster in the league and should win this one going away even if it doesn’t look like the Raiders, we have become accustomed to. The title goes through Hamilton, NY yet again.

Sleeper: Bucknell Bison

Full disclosure the Bison don’t have a chance to win this league they are not good enough to beat Colgate but for the purpose of the exercise a sleeper must be picked. Why the Bison then? Bucknell has already exceeded expectations for this year and did beat Penn State in State College. Bucknell also has a guard who can carry a team and change a game with his ability to score. It is not likely to happen because of the talent discrepancy but needed to have a team as a sleeper.