When you hear “Army-Navy Game”, chances are your head automatically goes to football, unless you have some affiliation with either service academy. So you may be surprised to learn there are at least 25 other Army-Navy Games on the docket between the two rivals this season, excluding any post-season action. Some of those matchups include Swimming & Diving, Volleyball, Lacrosse, and Sprint Football.
And for these teams outside of football, the message of what this game means for America remains the same.
Men’s and Women’s Basketball will face off this weekend in Christl Arena. It will be the first time the two have faced off this season, and they will meet again at least once more in February at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.
Let’s start our preview with the women, who will kick off the Saturday double header in West Point. Both Army and Navy are having pretty average seasons to date; they are nearly identical in points per game and points against per game, as well as rebound and assists per game. Navy has the edge in steals though, nearly doubling up Army on a per game basis.
Navy is 8-7 on the year and 3-2 in Patriot League play; they are currently on a two game winning streak. The Mids are led by Freshman Guard Jennifer Coleman who is averaging 13 points, 8 rebounds and nearly 3 assists a game.
Army is 7-9 on the year and 2-3 in Patriot League play; they defeated Lafayette at home on Wednesday night. Senior forward Madison Hovren leads the Black Knights by averaging a double-double every night to the tune of 18.4 points and 12.8 boards a game and she rarely leaves the floor; only senior guard Jess Lewis is averaging more minutes, and just barely.
Hovren is a force to be reckoned with, and is the player to watch tomorrow. With that said, if the Mids are able to neutralize her, even a little bit, then Coleman and company should be able to steal a road win and third victory in a row.
As for the men…
Army and Navy Men’s basketball are also pretty equally matched, but Army has been great at home and Navy hasn’t exactly been impressive on the road. Both teams are coming off a win, but those wins are against squads the other has previously defeated (Lafayette and Colgate).
Army is currently 8-10 overall and 3-2 in the Patriot League. The Black Knights have won three of their last four contests, with the only loss coming by two points against Loyola on the road. Army has a trio that are consistently putting up 35+ points a game between them in Matt Wilson, Tommy Funk, and Jordan Fox; the same trio has been accounting for nearly half of Army’s rebounds in each contest as well. Matt Wilson has been shooting at a 57% clip on the year and the junior is the Black Knights leading scorer.
Navy is 6-10 on the year and is also 3-2 in the Patriot League, including a huge win against Holy Cross. The Mids failed to capitalize on that victory and lost their next two contests, before finally getting back on track against Lafayette earlier this week. Navy also has their own consistent trio in George Kiernan, Cam Davis, and Hasan Abdullah who have been accounting for more than 32 points a game. Meanwhile the Mids have 7 players who have been averaging 3 rebounds a game.
It should be an interesting matchup, just like most Army-Navy contests. Army has the edge in points per game and FG%, while Navy has the edge in rebounds per game and free throw percentage. Navy is a defensively minded squad, but they have struggled on the road, whereas Army has been terrific in Christl Arena. I give Army the advantage here, but in the standard Vegas courtesy for an NFL home team meaning -2.5. One thing is for sure; the winner on Saturday takes over third place in the Patriot league, and has an edge going into the Star Game on 16 Feb at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.
And if you were wondering if you can watch the game, well yes, yes you can. Both games of the doubleheader will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. The women tip off at noon and the men are scheduled to begin at 2:30 ET. These are two evenly matched games and should make for an outstanding Saturday of service academy basketball!