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What-to-know-conference previews: Patriot

Posted on: February 27, 2012 11:00 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 5:07 pm
 

For the second consecutive season, Bucknell will look to protect its regular-season title and get back to the NCAA tournament.

The Bison started the conference season 10-0, before losing two in a row and needing a strong finish to win the championship over Lehigh. Led by Mike Muscala in the post, Bucknell has a variety of scoring options both in the paint and on the perimeter. The Bison also control the defensive glass and like to force a slow tempo on their opponents. Moreover, they will get homecourt advantage due to winning the regular-season title. That came in handy last season, when Bucknell knocked off Lafayette in the title game.

Lehigh has won nine of its last 10 games, including a road win at Bucknell two weeks ago. The Mountain Hawks have one of the best mid-major players in the country in C.J. McCollum, a prolific scorer who led the league in scoring, ranked third in rebounding and fifth in assists. He's capable of carrying the Mountain Hawks to the NCAA tournament -- like he did two years ago. Throw in Gabe Knutson on the inside, one of the more efficient players in the league, and Lehigh is a tough out.

American is one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league and is difficult to beat when its shots are falling, but a team to watch could be Holy Cross. The Crusaders won six in a row to end the season, and have defeated Lehigh, Bucknell and American this season. Devin Brown and R.J. Evans form a good tandem, and the Crusaders really guard the perimeter.

TOURNAMENT BRACKET

Title game:
Wednesday, March 7 on CBS Sports Network (7 p.m. ET)

BEST PLAYERS

  1. C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
  2. Mike Muscala, Bucknell
  3. Charles Hinkle, American
  4. Gabe Knutson, Lehigh
  5. Devin Brown, Holy Cross

Conference RPI: 22

KenPom.com rating: 22

Sagarin rating: 23

NCAA Tournament Locks: None

NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: None

Last NCAA Tournament Appearances

  • American Eagles: 2009, No. 14 seed, lost to Villanova 80-67 in the first round.
  • Army Black Knights: N/A.
  • Bucknell Bison: 2011, No. 14 seed, lost to Connecticut 81-52 in the first round.
  • Colgate Raiders: 1996, No. 16 seed, lost to Connecticut 68-59 in the first round.
  • Holy Cross Crusaders: 2007, No. 13 seed, lost to Southern Illinois 61-51 in the first round.
  • Lafayette Leopards: 2000, No. 15 seed, lost to Temple 73-47 in the first round.
  • Lehigh Mountain Hawks: 2010, No. 16 seed, lost to Kansas 90-74 in the first round.
  • Navy: 1998, No. 16 seed, lost to North Carolina 88-52 in the first round.

- Jeff Borzello

Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Oct 31, 2007
Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:25 pm
 

What-to-know-conference previews: Patriot

What is the point of publishing this when it's clear that the author has spent no time at all learning anything about the Patriot League?

Just for one example, Gabe Knutson as one of the league's top five players??????   LOL!!!!!!!     Gabe barely made it onto the All-PL second team, as voted by the coaches.    At best he might be the league's 8th or 9th best player.   Eevin Brown btw also did not make the All-PL first team, although at least he is one of the league's best six players.

As for McCollum, yes you can make an argument he is the league's best player.   But it is very close between him and Mike Muscala, who was the league's POY last year as a sophomore.



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com