March 11, 2012
Patriot League Men's Basketball Postseason Release
National Invitation Tournament
College Insider Tournament
Center Valley, Pa. - For the first time in Patriot League history, three men's basketball teams will participate in postseason tournaments. While Lehigh heads to the NCAA Tournament, Bucknell and American will each begin play in a postseason event on Wednesday.
The Bison, who won the regular-season title and were the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament, earned a No. 8 seed in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and will visit one of the four top seeds, Arizona, in a first-round game on Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
American will host Buffalo in a first-round game of the College Insider Tournament (CIT) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Eagles are the first Patriot League team to participate in the event.
Bucknell and American join Patriot League champion Lehigh to give the League three teams in the postseason. The trio had already given the Patriot League three 20-win teams in one season for the first time. The only time the League had more than one team play in the postseason was in 2005, when Bucknell won a first-round NCAA Tournament game and Holy Cross won its opening contest in the NIT.
The Bison (24-9) will play in the NIT for the first time, earning an automatic bid by virtue of winning the Patriot League regular-season title with a 12-2 mark. Bucknell fell 82-77 to Lehigh in the Patriot League Championship game at home on Wednesday.
Bucknell is in the postseason for the second year in a row after making the NCAA Tournament as the Patriot League champion last season.
Patriot League teams have enjoyed success in the NIT, as each of the previous participants won their first game. Fordham beat South Florida in a first-round contest in 1991 before falling to Massachusetts, while Holy Cross won its opener in 2005 over Notre Dame before losing to St. Joseph's in the next round.
Arizona comes into the matchup with a 23-11 record after falling to Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship game on Saturday. The winner of the Bucknell/Arizona matchup will face the winner of the Nevada/Oral Roberts contest in a second-round game of the NIT, which features 32 teams.
For the full NIT bracket, go here
The Eagles (20-11) are back in the postseason for the first time since 2009, when they made the second of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. American finished in third place in the Patriot League at 10-4, and was eliminated in the semifinals of the League Tournament by Lehigh. The 32-team College Insider Tournament is in its fourth season. Buffalo (19-10) lost to Ohio in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament on Friday.
For the full field and matchups for the College Insider Tournament, go here. Matchups in future rounds will be determined by results in previous games.
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.
National Invitation Tournament - First Round
#8 Bucknell Bison (24-9, 12-2 PL) at #1 Arizona Wildcats (23-11, 12-6 Pac-12)
McKale Center; Tucson, Ariz.; Wednesday, 9 p.m.
Series: First Meeting TV: ESPN2 (Carter Blackburn, Miles Simon)
After winning the regular-season title in the Patriot League, Bucknell plays in the National Invitation Tournament for the first time when it visits Arizona on Wednesday at 9 p.m...The game will be shown on ESPN2 and streamed online on ESPN3, with the Bison as one of the No. 8 seeds in the NIT and the Wildcats playing as a No. 1 seed... Bucknell earned an automatic bid to the field as the Patriot League regular-season champion, and is in the postseason for the second year in a row after making the NCAA Tournament as the Patriot League champion last season..Bucknell is in the NIT for the first time, and also facing Arizona for the first time...The Bison have only faced Arizona State from the Pac-12, with the last meeting in 2002...Bucknell is trying to beat a Pac-12 foe for the first time since topping the Sun Devils in 1951...Patriot League teams have enjoyed success in the NIT, as each of the previous participants won their first game...Fordham beat South Florida in a first-round contest in 1991 before falling to Massachusetts, while Holy Cross won its opener in 2005 over Notre Dame before losing to St. Joseph's in the next round... Arizona comes into the matchup with a 23-11 record after falling to Colorado in the Pac-12 Championship game on Saturday...The Wildcats are in the NIT for the first time since 1951...The winner of the Bucknell/Arizona matchup will face the winner of the Nevada/Oral Roberts contest in a second-round game of the NIT, which features 32 teams.
Bucknell The Bison came up just short in their quest for a second consecutive Patriot League title as Lehigh pulled out an 82-77 win in Lewisburg in the championship contest on Wednesday...Bucknell never led in the game, but came within one point when Bryson Johnson made consecutive 3-pointers to trim the gap to 78-77 with 36 seconds to go...The Bison had a chance to win in the final seconds, but Cameron Ayers' shot was off the mark and the Mountain Hawks sealed the victory with four free throws in the final five seconds...Mike Muscala did all he could in the game, finishing with 30 points and 14 rebounds...He came up just one point shy of the record for a Patriot League Championship while making 8-of-17 shots and 14-of-16 free throws...Johnson finished with 11 points for the Bison, while Joe Willman added 10...Muscala and Willman were each named to the Patriot League All-Tournament Team...Bucknell is trying to reach 25 wins for the second year in a row and third time in program history... This will be Bucknell's sixth postseason appearance, with the other five coming at the NCAA Tournament where they won first-round games in 2005 (Kansas) and 2006 (Arkansas).
CollegeInsider.com Tournament - First Round
Buffalo Bulls (19-10, 12-4 MAC) at American Eagles (20-11, 10-4 PL)
Bender Arena; Washington, D.C.; Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Series: American, 3-1 Last Meeting: American 85, Buffalo 76 (1973-74)
American becomes the first Patriot League team to participate in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament when it hosts Buffalo on Wednesday at Bender Arena...The Eagles have a 13-1 record at Bender Arena, losing only to Bucknell on Feb. 23...American is in the postseason for the third time in five years after making consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008 and 2009...The College Insider.com Tournament features a 32-team field, with matchups determined by results of each round.
American The Eagles were knocked out of the Patriot League Tournament in the semifinals as they fell to eventual champion Lehigh 85-66 on March 3...American has reached 20 wins for a second consecutive season, and fourth time in the last five years...Charles Hinkle earned first-team All-Patriot League honors and stands 34th in the country with 18.4 points per game and 22nd at 42.0 percent from three-point range...The Eagles are 10th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (40.1) and in the top 50 in scoring defense (61.7).