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

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