Navy's move to benefit basketball, too


The main reason given for Navy's move from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Patriot League is a need to strengthen the women's programs at the academy. It also will be easier for the men's basketball team to compete in the Patriot League, a benefit coach Pete Herrmann hopes he can enjoy next season.

The Midshipmen most likely will end their 10-year association with the CAA tomorrow, when they play top-seeded James Madison in one of four quarterfinal games at the Richmond Coliseum. Navy (7-20) finished last in the eight-team league with a 2-12 mark.

During the last three seasons, Navy is 17-65, and there have been rumors in Annapolis since the start of the season that Herrmann had to produce. He was the coach in David Robinson's senior year, when Navy went 26-6, but the Middies haven't had a winner since.

Navy won the CAA in Robinson's last three years, 1985-87. It hasn't won a CAA tournament game since, losing in the opening round each of the last three years.

Athletic director Jack Lengyel has said the main reason for going to the Patriot involved moving the women's programs from Division II to I. He also said the last thing he wants is another basketball game against Army, another member of the Patriot.

But it's also evident that the Midshipmen were running their men's basketball program differently than those at James Madison, George Mason and others in the Colonial.

The other CAA first-round games send George Mason up against UNC-Wilmington, defending champion Richmond against East Carolina and American against William & Mary. The semifinals will be played Sunday, the championship Monday (7:30, ESPN).

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