Bucknell's 64-56 home win over Lafayette in the Patriot League final Wednesday night put the Bison in the NCAA tournament for the second time in the past three seasons. The club set a new conference record with 28 wins. This team is a fun one -- and a good one. Normally, Patriot League programs are dubbed with 14, 15 or 16 seed (like Lehigh, a 15 last year), but this year's Bison will certainly earn a spot on a higher line.
Senior big man Mike Muscala had 20 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday night's win. He's good; read more about him below.
As for the rest of the group, it's a very responsible team with the ball and pretty good on the defense. It's tall and experienced. Some believe this group, with three seniors and four juniors who earn minutes, is the best the Patriot's seen in many, many years. The past three seasons, Dave Paulsen's built up quite a program.
Just be on the lookout. Chances are this will be a chic upset team -- and with good reason.
Player to know: Mike Muscala. The future pro -- overseas or in the NBA -- is one of my favorite players in the game. The Patriot League Player of the Year is a big man, lanky, but strong and multifaceted. He's also the only player in Patriot League history to win the Player of the Year and tourney MVP twice in his career. He'll be a matchup issue for almost any team that gets Bucknell on the lower line when the bracket is released Sunday.
- Record: 28-5 overall, 12-2 in the Patriot League
- Most recent tournament appearance: 2012
- Jerry Palm predicts: 12 seed
- KenPom ranking: 61
- Sagarin ranking: 70
- RPI: 52
- Best wins: at Purdue, vs. La Salle
- Worst losses: at Lafayette, at Penn State
- Notable stat: The Bison are good in a lot of ways except one: they do not turn teams over. They are the very worst at it in Division I, making teams cough it up only 5.5 percent of the time. That won't play in the Round of 64. Bucknell will need to either luck or force its way into getting at least eight turnovers, to make some breaks, in order to pull an upset.
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