March 11, 2012
Patriot League Men's Basketball Postseason Release
NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket
Center Valley, Pa. - Patriot League champion Lehigh earned a No. 15 seed in the South Region and will match up with No. 2 seed Duke in a second-round game of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament on Friday in Greensboro, N.C. The game will tip off at 7:15 p.m. and be televised on CBS.
The Mountain Hawks (26-7) earned the Patriot League's automatic bid to the field with an 82-77 win over Bucknell in the League Championship on Wednesday in Lewisburg, their eighth-consecutive victory entering the postseason. Lehigh will play in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time, and third as a Patriot League member.
The Mountain Hawks are in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the last three seasons. They earned a No. 16 seed after winning the 2010 Patriot League title, and fell in their first game to No. 1 seed Kansas 90-74. Lehigh fell in an opening round game to Florida A & M in its other apperance as a League member in 2004, and earns its highest NCAA Tournament seed as a Patriot League team.
Lehigh played a pair of NCAA Touranment teams this season, falling to Iowa State 86-77 on Nov. 12 and 90-81 to Michigan State, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, on Dec. 22.
It will be just the second time that the Patriot League faces an opponent from the Atlantic Coast Conference in the NCAA Tournament. Navy fell to North Carolina 88-52 in 1998.
Lehigh will be trying to become the first Patriot League team since 2006 to win a game in the NCAA Tournament. Bucknell defeated Arkansas in the first round that season before falling to Memphis in the second round. The Bison also upset Kansas in the first round in 2005, and own the only two victories for Patriot League teams in the NCAA Tournament. The Patriot League has an overall mark of 2-20 in the NCAA Tournament.
Lehigh and Duke have played four times in their history with the Blue Devils winning all four matchups. The most recent came in 1996-97. The Patriot League and ACC only faced off once this season, with the Patriot League coming out on top as Holy Cross blasted Boston College 86-64 on Nov. 18.
The Blue Devils (27-6) are in the tournament for the 17th straight season and the 28th time in 29 years. Duke earned an at-large berth into the field.
The winner will face either seventh-seeded Notre Dame or 10th-seeded Xavier on Sunday, with the winner of that matchup then advancing to the Sweet 16.
Kentucky earned the top seed in the South Region, and the top overall seed in the field. Syracuse, North Carolina and Michigan State captured the other No. 1 seeds in the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
For the complete NCAA Tournament bracket, go here
Patriot League NCAA Tournament Notebook
Lehigh Heads Back to NCAA Tournament
Lehigh advances to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament for the second time in three years, and fifth overall. The Mountain Hawks went as the Patriot League champion in both 2004 and 2010 after making it in 1985 and 1988 before the formation of the Patriot League. The Mountain Hawks fell as a No. 16 seed to No. 1 Kansas by a 90-74 final in 2010, and dropped an opening round game to Florida A & M 72-57 in 2004. The Mountain Hawks earn their highest NCAA Tournament seed as a Patriot League member.
Lehigh, Patriot League vs. NCAA Field
Lehigh dropped its only two games against NCAA Tournament teams this season, though it showed well in outings against Iowa State and Michigan State. Lehigh lost 86-77 to the Cyclones on Nov. 12, and dropped a 90-81 decision to Michigan State, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, on Dec. 22. Patriot League teams have an 0-14 record against teams that made the NCAA Tournament.
Patriot League History in NCAA Tournament
Lehigh will be trying to become the first Patriot League team since 2006 to win a game in the NCAA Tournament. Bucknell defeated Arkansas in the first round that season before falling to Memphis in the Round of 32. The Bison also upset Kansas in the first round in 2005, and own the only two victories for Patriot League teams in the NCAA Tournament. The Patriot League has an overall mark of 2-20 in the NCAA Tournament, with a 2-17 mark in first or second round games. Lehigh's matchup with Duke marks just the second time a Patriot League school will face an ACC opponent, with Navy falling to North Carolina in 1998.
Mountain Hawks Get it Done on the Road
A trip to face Duke in Greensboro, a short trip from its campus in Durham, presents a daunting challenge for Lehigh. But at least the Mountain Hawks have plenty of experience winning away from home. Lehigh is tied for second in the nation with 12 true road wins, and stands tied for sixth nationally with 14 road/neutral wins this season. The Mountain Hawks have done it in some tough environments, too, including a win in the regular season and Patriot League Championship at Bucknell.
McCollum Doubles Up as Player of the Year, Tournament MVP
Lehigh junior guard C.J. McColllum has made headlines ever since setting foot on campus in Bethlehem, and took it to another level in 2012 by claiming both the Patriot League Player of the Year and Tournament Most Valuable Player awards. McCollum is just the ninth to take both honors in the same season, and became the 13th Player of the Year winner to go on to win the Patriot League Championship. He is a candidate for the Lou Henson Award, given to the top Mid-Major player in Division I basketball.
C.J. is No. 5
McCollum stands fifth in the country in both scoring (21.9) and steals (2.6), and the multi-threat guard does not stop there. He is second in the Patriot League with 6.5 rebounds per game, and fifth with 3.5 assists per contest.
Lehigh Efficient on Offense
The Mountain Hawks have enjoyed a strong season on the offensive end, ranking among the national leaders in a number of statistical categories. Lehigh is 27th in the country with 76.2 points per game, and stands third in the nation with a 77.6 free throw percentage. The Mountain Hawks are also among the leaders in assist/turnover ratio (1.17) and fewest turnovers per game (11.4) as they have outscored opponents by an average of 11.1 points per game.
Lehigh Wins 2012 Patriot League Championship
Lehigh held off numerous Bucknell rallies and hit four foul shots in the final five seconds to knock off the top-seed Bison 82-77 in the Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship on March 7 at Sojka Pavilion.The Mountain Hawks (26-7) win their third Patriot League title, and second in the past three seasons. They earn the Patriot League's automatic berth to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. Lehigh junior C.J. McCollum had 29 points, five assists and three steals and was named Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player. Bucknell junior Mike Muscala made the Patriot League All-Tournament Team along with classmate Joe Willman, Lehigh's Mackey McKnight and Gabe Knutson, and Lafayette's Rob Delaney. For the full Patriot League Championship recap, see page six of the release. The Championship notebook is on page 3.
Patriot League Postseason Notebook
Three Teams Make Postseason for the First Time
For the first time in Patriot League history, three teams have advanced to postseason tournaments. Along with Lehigh in the NCAA Tournament, Bucknell will take part in the National Invitation Tournament and American plays in the College Insider.com Tournament. The Bison open their first-ever NIT on Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 with a visit to Arizona, while the Eagles host Buffalo in the first game of the CIT on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The only other time the Patriot League sent multiple teams to the postseason was in 2005, when Bucknell won its first-round NCAA Tournament game against Kansas and Holy Cross defeated Notre Dame in its NIT opener.
Winningest Duo, Trio in Patriot League History
It's fitting for three teams to make the postseason in 2012, because it produced the winningest teams at the top of the standings in League history. Lehigh (26) and Bucknell (24) are the first pair of teams to combine for 50 wins, while American (20) joins the Mountain Hawks and Bison to give the Patriot League a trio of 20-win teams for the first time.
Run of Success for Postseason Squads
All three teams to earn postseason bids have experienced plenty of success in recent years. The trio has accounted for eight of the nine Patriot League titles since 2004, including five in a row. Lehigh (2004, 2010, 2012), Bucknell (2005, 2006, 2011) and American (2008, 2009) each have multiple titles in that span. Each squad is also accustomed to playing in the postseason. Lehigh is in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years, Bucknell makes a second consecutive postseason appearance and American is back in a postseason tournament for the third time in five seasons.
History of Success in NIT
While Bucknell is playing in the NIT for the first time, the Bison can look to success for Patriot League teams in the event. Two Patriot League teams have competed in the NIT, and both Fordham (1991) and Holy Cross (2005) won their first game. The Rams beat South Florida 76-66 in their first game before falling to Massachusetts 78-74, while the Crusaders pulled off a 78-73 win over Notre Dame to open the NIT followed by a 68-60 loss to St. Joseph's.
Stars are out in the Postseason
Three of the Patriot League's top players will continue their 2012 seasons this week. Lehigh junior guard C.J. McColllum and Bucknell junior forward Mike Muscala are both candidates for the Lou Henson Award, presented to the top mid-major player in the country by CollegeInsider.com. They are among 17 players to earn three All-Patriot League honors, with McCollum as one of eight to garner three first-team selections. McCollum is one of only three with multiple Player of the Year awards as well as the only freshman to win the honor, while Muscala was one of just three sophomores to claim the award when he won it last year. Both players are among only 14 in League history with at least 1,200 points and 600 rebounds, with Muscala joining only Colgate's Adonal Foyle by adding at least 150 blocks to that total. Earlier in the season, McCollum passed Foyle as the all-time leading junior scorer in Patriot League history. For American, senior Charles Hinkle is second in the Patriot League with 18.3 points per game and earned first-team All-Patriot League honors.
Second Round - South Region
#15 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (26-7, 11-3 PL) vs #2 Duke Blue Devils (27-6, 13-3 ACC)
Greensboro Coliseum; Greensboro, N.C.; Friday, 7:15 p.m.
Series: Duke, 4-0 TV: CBS (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Tracy Wolfson)
Streak: Duke, Four Wins Last Meeting: Duke 103, Lehigh 51 (12.2.1996)
Lehigh NCAA Tournament History
1985 First Round: Georgetown 68, Lehigh 43
1988 First Round: Temple 87, Lehigh 73
2004 Opening Round: Florida A & M 72, Lehigh 57
2010 First Round: Kansas 90, Lehigh 74
Patriot League champion Lehigh opens NCAA Tournament play with a second-round game in the South Region against Duke on Friday at 7:15 p.m. on CBS...The Mountain Hawks are the No. 15 seed in the region, while the Blue Devils holds the No. 2 position in the South...Lehigh advanced to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Patriot League title with an 82-77 victory at Bucknell in the League Championship on Wednesday...The Mountain Hawks defeated Colgate (70-57) and American (85-66) in the first two rounds of the Patriot League Tournament, with both games played at home...Lehigh is in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons, and fifth overall...In its last appearance, the Mountain Hawks earned a No. 16 seed and fell to top seed Kansas 90-74 in 2010... Lehigh fell in an opening round game to Florida A & M in its other apperance as a Patriot League member in 2004, and also lost first-round games in 1985 and 1988... It will be just the second time that the Patriot League faces an opponent from the Atlantic Coast Conference in the NCAA Tournament... Navy fell to North Carolina 88-52 in 1998...Lehigh will be trying to become the first Patriot League team since 2006 to win a game in the NCAA Tournament...Bucknell defeated Arkansas in the first round that season before falling to Memphis in the second round...The Bison also upset Kansas in the first round in 2005, and own the only two victories for Patriot League teams in the NCAA Tournament...The Patriot League has an overall mark of 2-20 in the NCAA Tournament...Lehigh and Duke have played four times in their history with the Blue Devils winning all four matchups, most recently a 103-51 triumph on Dec. 2, 1996...The Patriot League and ACC only faced off once this season, with the Patriot League coming out on top as Holy Cross blasted Boston College 86-64 on Nov. 18...The Blue Devils (27-6) are in the tournament for the 17th straight season and the 28th time in 29 years...Duke earned an at-large berth into the field... The winner will face either seventh-seeded Notre Dame or 10th-seeded Xavier on Sunday, with the winner of that matchup then advancing to the Sweet 16.
Lehigh The Mountain Hawks won the Patriot League title with an 82-77 win over Bucknell in the League Championship on Wednesday at Sojka Pavilion...Junior guard C.J. McCollum scored 29 points in the victory, and was named Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player...Gabe Knutson had 23 points in the title contest and joined McCollum on the Patriot League All-Tournament Team, along with Mackey McKnight...The trio scored 63 of Lehigh's 82 points in the title-game win...Lehigh never trailed against the Bison, going ahead for good with a 9-0 run to take a 59-50 advantage midway through the second half...Bucknell was within one in the final seconds, but the Lehigh defense forced a missed shot and the Mountain Hawks made four free throws to seal the 82-77 win...Lehigh comes into the game in the top 30 nationally with 76.2 points per game, and third in the country at the foul line with a 77.6 percentage...McCollum is fifth in the nation with 21.9 points per game and also fifth with 2.6 steals per contest...He became the 13th Patriot League Player of the Year to win the League title, and ninth to claim the Player of the Year and Tournament MVP trophies in the same season...The Mountain Hawks have won 12 true road games and two neutral-site contests, tying for second nationally in road victories and sixth in road/neutral triumphs.