Holy Cross Capsule
Nickname: Crusaders Coach: Ralph Willard Location: Worcester, Massachusetts Record at Holy Cross: 159-88 Conference: Patriot League Career record: 303-212 Overall Record: 25-8 Conference Record and Finish: 13-1, 1st Seed, Region and Bid: 13, West, Automatic Total NCAA Tournament Bids: 12 NCAA Tournament Record: 7-11 (.389) Final Four Appearances: 2 (1947, 1948) NCAA Tournament Championships: 1 (1947) Best NCAA Tournament Finish: NATIONAL CHAMPION Final ESPN/USA Today ranking: NR Final Associated Press ranking: NR Final Ratings Percentage Index: 59 Record vs. teams in the field: 0-3 Starters: F -- Alex Vander Baan (6-8, 205, So. -- 6.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg) C -- Tim Clifford (6-10, 270, Jr. -- 11.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) G -- Keith Simmons (6-5, 205, Sr. -- 17.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) G -- Torey Thomas (5-11, 185, Sr. -- 13.6 ppg, 4.8 apg) G -- Kyle Cruze (6-2, 175, Jr. -- 2.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg) Key Reserves: G -- Pat Doherty (5-11, 170, So. -- 5.3 ppg) F -- Eric Meister (6-8, 225, Fr. -- 3.4 rpg) OUTLOOK: Holy Cross' recent history in the NCAA Tournament has been marred by disappointing near-misses. The Crusaders last appeared in the tourney as a 14th seed in 2003, when they dropped a 72-68 first-round decision to Marquette. It was the second four-point loss in three years for Holy Cross, which fell to Kansas in 2002 and nearly ousted Kentucky the previous year. Willard, who guided Western Kentucky to the regional semifinals in 1993, has built another Holy Cross squad predicated on defense; the Crusaders boast the nation's ninth-best defense in terms of opponents' scoring. Holy Cross is led by senior guards Simmons and Thomas, who combined to score 51 points in the Patriot League championship game against Bucknell. Simmons, the Patriot League MVP, is a versatile slasher who has shot 43 percent from 3-point range in his career. Thomas is an adept defender and ball-handler who likely will play the entirety of the contest. The Crusaders are a seasoned group who have shown a knack for winning close games. However, they are prone to long scoring droughts and do not have much inside depth after 6-10 center Tim Clifford. NEXT GAME: Friday vs. (4) Southern Illinois at Columbus, Ohio
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Updated Wednesday, Mar 14, 2007