Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 1.10.13

Lehigh's Gabe Knutson

Jan. 10, 2013

Patriot League Men's Basketball Release - 1.10.13 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - After two months of non-League action, Patriot League teams are ready to face off as the race for the 2013 title begins Saturday.

The Patriot League schedule begins on national television as defending champion Lehigh hosts Holy Cross at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The Mountain Hawks will play at least the majority of the League schedule without two-time Player of the Year C.J. McCollum, who is out for an estimated 8-10 weeks after foot surgery.

Patriot League fans will be busy following games in the afternoon with American at Colgate and Navy at Lafayette also tipping off at 2 p.m. Bucknell and Army tip off at 7 p.m. from Lewisburg. All three of those games will be available at no charge through Patriot League All-Access.

Bucknell enters the League slate with the most momentum with a 13-3 mark overall, setting a record for non-League victories. The Bison are ranked No. 4 in the latest College Mid-Major top 25, while senior Mike Muscala is rated as the most efficient player in the nation with strong numbers across the board.

The Bison are a perfect 5-0 at home this season, and home court could prove to be very important during Patriot League play. The eight squads are a combined 34-12 on their own courts, with every team at .500 or better and Lehigh, Holy Cross, Army and Colgate each with just one loss at home.

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*The Patriot League schedule tips off on Saturday with four games.
*Holy Cross visits Lehigh in a contest that can be seen on CBS Sports Network at 2 p.m.
*The other three games will all be available free on Patriot League All-Access.
*Bucknell has won 33 of its last 38 Patriot League regular-season games.
*The Bison, Holy Cross and American aim to open League play with a win for the third year in a row.
*Navy, Lehigh and Colgate have not started with a win in the Patriot League since 2010.
*Lehigh has won its last three home games against Holy Cross.
*Bucknell has defeated Army four straight times overall and at home.
*Lafayette has won the past four meetings at home against Navy and five of the last six against the Mids overall.
*American has won five straight and 16 of 17 against Colgate.
*Bucknell is the only team in Patriot League history to win 13 non-League games and has its second-best 16-game record in school history.
*Bucknell's Mike Muscala is at No. 1 in player efficiency rating on
*Lehigh's C.J. McCollum is expected to miss 8-10 weeks with a foot injury.
*Patriot League teams are 62-62 overall this year, and 56-41 against DI teams outside of the BCS leagues.
*Patriot League teams are 34-12 at home, with Bucknell at 5-0.

Patriot League Notebook

Patriot League Race Starts Saturday on CBS Sports Network, All-Access
Patriot League fans have arenas to fill on Saturday afternoon, but if they can't make it out to the game a nice comfortable couch will do for a smorgosboard of action both on television and online. The League slate tips off at 2 p.m. with three of the four contests. Holy Cross is at Lehigh at 2 p.m on CBS Sports Network, with the Patriot League announcing team of Bob Socci and Chris Spatola on the call. Also at that time, American at Colgate and Navy at Lafayette will tip off for free on Patriot League All-Access. The final game of the day has Army traveling to Bucknell at 7 p.m. in another free Patriot League All-Access broadcast.

Plenty of Coverage for Patriot League Men's Basketball
Saturday is just the start of wide-ranging coverage for Patriot League men's basketball this season. Every game of the race for the 2013 Patriot League title will be available to viewers either through national television or live streaming on Patriot League All-Access. Thirteen games are set to be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network, including both Patriot League Tournament semifinals and the League Championship on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. Lehigh, Lafayette, American, Holy Cross and Colgate will also have select home games broadcast through regional outlets. Patriot League All-Access contests wll be available for a small monthly fee after the opening weekend and include all games except for CBS Sports Network broadcasts.

Opening Day Replays
The 2013 schedule features the same Patriot League openers as last year when Holy Cross beat Lehigh, Bucknell topped Army, Lafayette edged Navy and American got past Colgate. Holy Cross, Bucknell and American are all trying to start Patriot League action with a win for the third straight year. Navy, Colgate and Lehigh try to win a League opener for the first time since 2010.

Bucknell Aims For More Regular-Season Success
Bucknell has won the past two Patriot League regular-season titles, going 13-1 in 2011 and 12-2 last year for a 25-3 mark in the in the past two years. Since opening the 2010 campaign with a 1-3 record the Bison have won 33 of their last 38 games in Patriot League play. The Bison can become the first team in Patriot League history to win the outright regular-season title in three consecutive seasons.

Bison Become First Patriot League Team with 13 Non-League Wins
Any Patriot League success this season would just be a continuation of what Bucknell did in non-League play. The Bison became the first Patriot League team to record 13 non-League victories in the regular season, and their 13-3 mark trails only the 1983-84 team for the top 16-game record in school history. Bucknell has won at all sites, holding a 5-0 record at home, 6-3 on the road and 2-0 at neutral courts. Bucknell is among the national leaders in overall, road and road/neutral victories.

Bucknell's Muscala Continues to Post Big Numbers
Bucknell senior center Mike Muscala is putting up an oustanding all-around year with 19.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per game coupled with good shooting from the field (55%) and foul line (80%). The packed stat sheet has Muscala at No. 1 in the nation in player efficiency rating from John Hollinger on Muscala is one of two Division I players ranked in the top 30 nationally in scoring and the top 15 in rebounding. He stands second in League history in rebounding and blocked shots, and is 10th in all-time points.

Lehigh's McCollum Expected to Miss 8-10 Weeks
Lehigh senior guard C.J. McCollum will be out an estimated 8-10 weeks with a fracture of his fifth metatarsal in his left foot, as confirmed through an X-ray on Sunday. The estimated recovery time means there is a possibility that McCollum could return for the final game of the regular season or Patriot League Tournament. A preseason candidate for the Naismith and Wooden Awards, McCollum stands second in the country with 23.9 points per game even after scoring only four on Saturday. He holds Patriot League records for all-time scoring (2,361 points), field goals made, free throws made and double-figure scoring games.

Wrapping Up the Non-League Slate
Three wins in four games on Saturday brought the Patriot League to an even 62-62 in non-League play this year, with just one game remaining as Colgate hosts NJIT on Feb. 6. The League has combined for a 56-41 record against Division I teams outside of the "Big-Six" conferences, and a 48-29 record against regional foes from the Atlantic 10, America East, CAA, Ivy League, MAAC, NEC and MEAC. Patriot League teams have done plenty of their damage at home with a 34-12 mark on their own courts.

Patriot League Games
Holy Cross Crusaders (8-7, 0-0) at Lehigh Mountain Hawks (10-4, 0-0)
Stabler Arena; Bethlehem, Pa.; Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
*Holy Cross and Lehigh square off in the Patriot League opener on Saturday at 2 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
*The teams split last year's season series, with Holy Cross recording an 84-78 win in the League opener at home on Jan. 7 and Lehigh coming back with a 75-51 victory at Stabler Arena Feb. 4.
*Lehigh has won the past three meetings between the schools at Stabler Arena.
*The season series was also split in 2011, and the home team has won the last five games in the matchup.
*Holy Cross is trying to open League play with a victory for the third season in a row.
*Lehigh has not won a League opener since 2010.
*Holy Cross leads the all-time series 35-15, with all but one game played as League members.

Navy Midshipmen (6-10, 0-0) at Lafayette Leopards (7-10, 0-0)
Kirby Sports Center; Easton, Pa.; Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV: Lafayette Sports Network (RCN-4, RCN-8, WBPH-60)
*Lafayette puts its solid home mark on the line when it begins Patriot League play against Navy on Saturday at 2 p.m.
*The game will be shown on Lafayette Sports Network, available on RCN-4, RCN-8 and WBPH-60.
*The Leopards are 6-2 at Kirby Sports Center this season, with four wins by three points or less or in overtime.
*Lafayette has won the past four meetings at home against Navy, with a 62-41 win in Easton on Feb. 4 last season.
*Lafayette also posted a 65-63 win at Navy in the League opener on Jan. 7 and swept the season series between the schools for the second time in the last three seasons.
*The Leopards have won five of the past six games against the Mids overall.
*The Leopards have opened League play with a win in two of the last three seasons, while the Mids last won a League opener in 2010.
*Navy has a 41-28 lead in the all-time series, though Lafayette holds a 24-21 edge as Patriot League members.

American Eagles (5-10, 0-0) at Colgate Raiders (6-10, 0-0)
Cotterell Court; Hamilton, N.Y.; Saturday, 2 p.m.
*American and Colgate try to open League play on a high note when they meet in Hamilton on Saturday at 2 p.m.
*The Eagles swept last year's season series, winning 82-54 at home in the League opener on Jan. 7 and edging the Raiders 59-58 in Hamilton on Feb. 4.
*The Eagles have dominated the Raiders over the years, with wins in five straight and 16 of the past 17 matchups.
*Colgate's only win during the stretch came at home in 2010 as the Raiders held off the Eagles 75-74 in double overtime.
*The Eagles are 23-3 against Colgate as a Patriot League member, including 19-3 in the regular season.
*American aims to open Patriot League play with a win for the third year in a row, while Colgate tries to do it for the first time since 2010.

Army Black Knights (7-8, 0-0) at Bucknell Bison (13-3, 0-0)
Sojka Pavilion; Lewisburg, Pa.; Saturday, 7 p.m.
*After one of the top non-League campaigns in League history, Bucknell starts Patriot League play at home against Army on Saturday evening.
*The Bison have won the regular-season title in each of the last two years with records of 13-1 and 12-2.
*Bucknell swept the Black Knights last season, winning 75-59 in the League opener at West Point on Jan. 7 and 81-68 at home on Feb. 4.
*The Bison have won the last four meetings between the schools, all by double digits.
*Three of those four contests were at Sojka Pavilion, and Bucknell has beaten Army in the last four matchups in Lewisburg.
*Army did account for Bucknell's only League loss in 2011 with a 90-70 win at West Point on Jan. 29.
*Bucknell has opened League play with a win for the last two years, while Army last did so in 2011.
*Bucknell has a 42-9 edge in games played as Patriot League members.

Team Notebooks

AMERICAN American enters Patriot League play with a 5-10 record... The Eagles took on a set of challenging games that included trips to Minnesota, St. Joseph's, Georgetown and Kansas...They opened 2-1 with wins over Quinnipiac and Mount St. Mary's, and also own victories against St. Francis (Pa.), UMBC and Maryland Eastern Shore...American is limiting teams to just 63.7 points per game, but is last in the Patriot League with 56.1 points per contest...The return of forward Stephen Lumpkins has been a big boost, as the senior stands seventh in the Patriot League with 14.4 points per game and second with 9.1 rebounds per contest...The Eagles fell 68-60 at home against Cornell in their most recent action on Sunday...American plays its Patriot League home opener on Wednesday against Lehigh.

ARMY The Black Knights are second in the Patriot League with 74.2 points per game, and scored 90 points or more in wins over Marist, Maine, Rosemont and Houston Baptist...Army holds a 4-1 record at home, but does enter Patriot League play with two straight losses after falling to Columbia on Saturday and Dartmouth on Tuesday...Senior Ella Ellis leads the Black Knights and is fourth in the Patriot League with 17.3 points per game, while Kyle Wilson is the top scorer among Patriot League freshmen and 11th overall with 12.1 points per contest...Army plays its Patriot League home opener against Lafayette on Wednesday.

BUCKNELL Bucknell had some of the top highlights of the non-League slate, finishing with a 13-3 record that gives the Bison the most non-League wins in Patriot League history and the second-best 16-game record in school history...Bucknell has won at all sites, holding a 5-0 record at home, 6-3 on the road and 2-0 at neutral courts...The Bison have strong wins over Purdue, La Salle, Loyola University Maryland, George Mason and New Mexico State as well as a near-miss at No. 12 Missouri on Saturday... In addition to becoming the first team to 13 non-League wins, the three defeats were the fewest in non-League play since Holy Cross had the same amount in 2002-03...The Bison opened the year with a five-game winning streak that included a 70-65 victory at Purdue to begin the season on Nov. 9, and followed it with a six-game winning streak highlighted by a 74-66 triumph over La Salle on Dec. 15...Bucknell nearly pulled off a big upset on Saturday, but fell just short in a 66-64 loss at No. 12 Missouri...The Bison rank in the top 35 in the latest RPI standings.. Bucknell is among the top teams in the Patriot League in nearly every statistic, leading in five different categories while also ranking in the NCAA top 50 in six different areas...Mike Muscala has been outstanding all-around with 19.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.5 blocks per game coupled with good shooting from the field (55%) and foul line (80%)...He is second in the Patriot League in scoring and first in rebounding and blocked shots, and his success across the board has the senior as the No. 1 player in the nation in efficiency rating on's not all Muscala, however, as Cameron Ayers, Bryson Johnson and Joe Willman also average more than 10 points per game for the Bison....Bucknell plays three of its first four Patriot League games at home, but heads on the road Wednesday to take on Colgate.

COLGATE The Raiders had a six-game losing streak, but head to Patriot League play with momentum after wins in three of their last four games...Colgate won at home against Binghamton and New Hampshire just before the New Year and at Dartmouth on Saturday to get going in the right direction...They jumped on the Big Green early, going on a 20-5 run in the first half to build a 29-16 lead...After Dartmouth closed the gap to 10, Colgate scored the final six points of the first half for a 40-24 lead at the break...Colgate led by as many as 22 points in the second half, and the advantage never slipped below double digits...Murphy Burnatowski led the Raiders with 21 points while Luke Roh had 15 points, Mitch Rolls finished with 12 and Brandon James had 10....The Raiders had lights out shooting all-around, going 23-of-44 from the field, 10-of-13 from three-point range and 22-of-27 at the foul line...They stand second in the Patriot League with 126 made three-pointers, and are among the top 50 teams in Division I in both three-pointers and three-point field-goal percentage...Colgate has relied heavily on Murphy Burnatowski, who is third in the Patriot League with 17.5 points per game in his first season with the Raiders...The first two Patriot League games are at home, as the Raiders welcome Bucknell on Wednesday after hosting American on Saturday.

HOLY CROSS An up-and-down non-League campaign ended on a high note Tuesday as Holy Cross broke a three-game losing skid with a 78-69 victory over Columbia... Dave Dudzinski scored 31 points on 10-of-14 from the field and 9-of-9 at the foul line and Justin Burrell scored 29 points on 9-of-13 from the field and 9-of-10 at the line...The Crusaders hit 26-of-51 shots (51.0%), including 6-of-11 from the three-point line, and connected on 20-of-22 at the line...Holy Cross closed the first half on an 11-0 run for a 34-25 lead at the break...The Crusaders went up by as many as 16 points in the second half, and closed the game strong after Columbia got within five points...The Crusaders improved to 4-1 at the Hart Center this year...The non-League campaign was highlighted by a three-game winning streak in December that included a 73-63 triumph at San Francisco...Dudzinski is in the top five in the Patriot League in points (16.9 ppg) and rebounds (6.9 rpg)...While the Crusaders have struggled to score at times, they are among the top 10 teams in the nation by making 77.2% of their foul shots and are holding opponents to just 61.7 points per game...Holy Cross plays its first two Patriot League games on the road, visiting Navy Wednesday.

LAFAYETTE The season has been a tale of home and away for the Leopards, until Tuesday when Lafayette posted an 85-83 win at Penn for its first-ever victory at The Palestra... The Leopards led 41-40 at the half and went up by 13 points in the second half before Penn rallied to tie the score at 81 with 3:14 left...Lafayette responded as Bryce Scott hit a three-pointer for an 84-81 lead with 1:55 to go, and held on as Penn missed a pair of shots to take the lead in the final seconds...Tony Johnson led six players in double figures with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while Dan Trist scored 17...Lafayette shot 61.2% from the field at 30-of-49 for the game, and hit 7-of-15 shots from three-point range....Lafayette is 6-2 at home this season and just 1-8 on the road, though the slate away from Kirby Sports Center has included visits to Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota and Stanford...Winning close games is nothing new, however, as five of Lafayette's six Division I wins have been by three points or less or in overtime...The Leopards are third in the Patriot League with 68.9 points per game, and as balanced as anyone in the League with Seth Hinrichs (14.4), Trist (14.0), Johnson (11.5) and Joey Ptasinski (10.0) each among the top 21 scorers...The Leopards play their next two Patriot League games on the road at Army and Bucknell next week.

LEHIGH Lehigh concluded its non-League slate with an easy 81-46 win over local foe Muhlenberg on Tuesday...The Mountain Hawks blew the game out early with a 42-17 lead at the half...Anthony D'Orazio had 15 points to lead the way, followed by Holden Greiner with 14, Gabe Knutson with 13 and Stefan Cvrklaj with 12...Corey Schaefer had 11 of the team's 25 assists... While Lehigh will be without top scorer C.J. McCollum for at least the majority of Patriot League play, the senior made his mark in non-League action with 25.7 points per game before Saturday's 59-55 loss at VCU...The Mountain Hawks only played one other tight game in their first 14 contests, an 80-79 loss at home against Bryant on Dec. 29...All of Lehigh's wins came by seven points or more, with nine by double digits including an 89-60 victory over Robert Morris on Nov. 12 and a 90-75 triumph at North Texas on Dec. 20...After starting 1-2 with losses to Baylor and Pittsburgh, Lehigh reeled off eight straight wins before the loss to Bryant...The cupboard will not be bare without McCollum, as fellow seniors Gabe Knutson (15.7 ppg) and Holden Greiner (11.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and junior Mackey McKnight (11.3 ppg, 5.1 apg) are enjoying fine seasons...Lehigh has been at or near the top of the national leaderboard all season in free throw and three-point percentage, and is leading the Patriot League with 79.5 points per game....The Mountain Hawks head on the road Wednesday to take on American.

NAVY After a three-win season a year ago, the Mids built momentum early in non-League play by going 6-6 heading into their exam break...Navy posted an impressive 69-59 win over Bryant, a team that is now ranked in the College Mid-Major top 25, on Dec. 10 and owns a 4-3 mark at Alumni Hall...The Mids head into Patriot League play on a four-game losing streak, but aim to remain in the mix by relying on one of the top defenses in the League...Navy leads the Patriot League in scoring defense at 58.9 points per game, and is holding opponents to 29.3% shooting from beyond the arc...A team without any seniors is being led by a freshman, as Tilman Dunbar has won four Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week awards while averaging 10.8 points and a League-high 5.3 assists per game...The Mids have their Patriot League home opener on Wednesday when they take on Holy Cross.