LEWISBURG, Pa. – This may not be the Bucknell team of 2005 and 2006, when it made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, including an upset of No. 3 Kansas in 2005. The 2011 version will get a chance to make its own history, though, with the Bison’s 72-57 win over upstart Lafayette in the championship game of the Patriot League tournament. Mike Muscala went for 18 points, while Cameron Ayers came off the bench to contribute 12.
Bucknell, located in rural Pennsylvania, has now reached the NCAA tournament five times in its history. The Bison had one of their best seasons in program history, reaching the 25-win plateau for the second time in their history. They have won 10 games in a row, and 19 of their last 20. Bucknell didn’t have an NCAA tournament win before 2005, but it beat No. 3 Kansas that season and then knocked off Arkansas in the first round in 2006. Can this season’s defensive-minded group advance once again?
Player to know: Mike Muscala. The Patriot League’s Player of the Year, Muscala is a 6-foot-11 low-post player who leads the Bison in scoring and rebounding. He can finish with both hands around the rim and also hit face-up jumpers. Muscala blocks shots and corrals boards effectively on the defensive end. He also does damage from the free-throw line, shooting better than 81 percent. He was inconsistent down the stretch of the season, but went for 21 points in the title game.
- Record: 25-8, 13-1 Patriot
- Team colors: Orange and Blue
- We’re thinking: 14-seed
- KenPom ranking: 93
- RPI: 85
- Best win: Richmond (24-7)
- Worst loss: Army (11-19)
- Notable stat: The Bison are the nation’s sixth-best 3-point shooting team, knocking 40.6 percent of their outside shots.
- Most recent tournament history: 2006. In the tournament as a No. 9 seed, Bucknell defeated Arkansas in the first round before falling to top-seeded Memphis.
Posted by Jeff Borzello
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