March 16, 2010
Center Valley, Pa. - After winning its second Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship on Friday, Lehigh now faces a daunting task in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship as the Mountain Hawks earned a No. 16 seed in the Midwest Region and will take on overall No. 1 seed Kansas on Thursday at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City at approximately 9:40 p.m. on CBS.
Patriot League Men's Basketball NCAA Release - 3.16.10
The Mountain Hawks earned the Patriot League's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by defeating rival Lafayette, 74-59, for the League title on Friday at Stabler Arena. Lehigh holds a 22-10 overall record, setting a school record for victories in a season. The Mountain Hawks finished 10-4 in the Patriot League to also claim the regular-season crown. They will enter the NCAA Tournament on a five-game winning streak, including three Patriot League Tournament victories by 15 points or more to claim the 2010 League Championship.
Kansas has been ranked as the No. 1 team in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll for a good portion of the season, and holds that ranking going into the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big 12 Tournament title on Saturday. The Jayhawks hold an overall record of 32-2, and also won the Big 12 regular-season crown with a 15-1 mark.
The Mountain Hawks are led by freshman C.J. McCollum and the senior duo of Zahir Carrington and Marquis Hall. McCollum earned both Patriot League Player and Rookie of the Year recognition, and was acknowledged last week on The Sporting News Freshman All-America Team. He is second in the Patriot League and leads all freshmen nationally with 18.9 points per game, and earned All-Tournament honors by averaging more than 20 points in Lehigh's three Patriot League Tournament wins. Carrington was named the Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds and four blocks in the Championship game, while Hall has received multiple honors in his career and is the first player in League history with more than 1,500 points and 500 assists.
The winner of the Lehigh/Kansas game moves on to the second round on Saturday to match up with the winner of Thursday's contest between No. 9 Northern Iowa and No. 8 UNLV. The other pod in Oklahoma City is out of the West Region, with No. 2 Kansas State against No. 15 North Texas and No. 10 Florida versus No. 7 BYU on Thursday.
Patriot League NCAA Notebook
Lehigh Back in the NCAA Tournament
Lehigh has advanced to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship for the fourth time in school history, and the second time as a Patriot League member. The Mountain Hawks previously went to the event in 1985, 1988 and as a League member in 2004, when they lost to Florida A & M in the Opening Round game. Lehigh is the seventh school to make more than one NCAA appearance as a League member.
Lehigh Tops Rival Lafayette for the Patriot League Title
Lifted by a dominant final 10 minutes from senior and Tournament Most Valuable Player Zahir Carrington, Lehigh outscored rival Lafayette, 23-9, down the stretch to beat the Leopards, 74-59, in the Patriot League Championship game on Friday at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks finished on a 12-1 run, and held Lafayette without a field goal for nearly the last six minutes. Lehigh became the eighth Patriot League program to win multiple titles with its second crown. Lehigh previously beat Army in the quarterfinals and American in the semifinals to advance to the Championship. For more on the Patriot League Tournament and Championship, read pages five and six of the men's basketball release or visit www.patriotleague.org.
A No. 16 seed has never knocked off a No. 1, but the stars could be aligning for Lehigh to repeat probably the greatest moment in Patriot League men's basketball history. The Mountain Hawks will face Kansas exactly five years to the day, in the same location and with the same late evening start time that Bucknell, a No. 14 seed, beat the No. 3 Jayhawks, 64-63, in 2005 for the first NCAA Tournament win by a Patriot League school. The victory was ranked as one of the top college basketball upsets of the decade, and voted as the top story of the decade in the Patriot League. Yahoo Sports provides eight reasons why the upset could be forthcoming at its blog, "The Dagger."
More NCAA History Against the Jayhawks
A Patriot League team is facing off against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time. Kansas has a 2-1 lead in the first-round matchups, with wins over Colgate (82-68) in 1995 and Holy Cross (70-59) in 2002 in addition to the Bucknell upset. Each of the Kansas victories came when the Patriot League team was a No. 16 seed and the Jayhawks were a No. 1. Kansas is the most-played NCAA Tournament opponent for League teams, with no more than two matchups against any other foe. Patriot League teams are 1-3 all-time against current members of the Big 12, including Navy's loss to Missouri in the first round in 1994.
Patriot League Very Competitive in NCAA Tournament
Patriot League teams are 2-15 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and 2-18 overall in the event. But that doesn't mean the League just rolls over for its opponent. In addition to Bucknell's first-round wins in 2005 and 2006 (59-55 over Arkansas), no Patriot League team has lost a first-round game by more than 15 points since 2000. American's games were much closer than the final score shows in the past two years, as the Eagles trailed Tennessee by one point with six minutes to play before losing by 15 in 2008 and led Villanova by 14 points in the second half of an eventual 80-67 defeat last season. Lehigh is the seventh Patriot League team to earn a No. 16 seed, but just the third since 1998 and the first since it played in the Opening Round in 2004.
School-Record Victory Total for Mountain Hawks
Lehigh set a school record with its 22nd win in Friday's Championship game. The Mountain Hawks had previously recorded 21 wins in the 1987-88 season. Lehigh finished 15-2 at Stabler Arena, and comes into the NCAA Tournament riding a wave of momentum with five straight victories. Lehigh has an 18-4 record after a 4-6 start.
Lehigh Dominates Patriot League Tournament
Not only has Lehigh won five straight games, but the Mountain Hawks have done so in impressive fashion. Lehigh comes off one of the most dominant runs in Patriot League Tournament history, winning their three games by a combined 56 points (18.7 per game) and recording at least a 15-point victory in each contest. Lehigh is the first champion to win all of its Patriot League Tournament games by 15 points or more, and joins Bucknell (2006) as the only team to claim all double-digit victories. Lehigh's combined 56-point margin of victory is behind only the 58 of Lafayette in 2000 and Bucknell in 2005 in League Tournament history.
McCollum Posts Amazing Freshman Season
Lehigh's C.J. McCollum has put together one of the most impressive freshman seasons in the country. McCollum leads all freshman and ranks 45th nationally with 18.9 points per game, and has a long list of both national and Patriot League honors. He was named an NABC First-Team All-District 13 selection on Monday, and last week was selected to the Sporting News All-Freshman Second Team. He joined a list of nine other players that all came from nationally-ranked schools or major conferences on that list. McCollum became the first-ever student-athlete to win the Patriot League Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season. He was also named First-Team All-League, joining Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1994-95) as the only two freshmen to achieve that feat. McCollum earlier broke Foyle's Patriot League freshman scoring record of 509 points, and his current total of 605 is now also a Lehigh freshman record. McCollum was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week nine times, tying the League record set by teammate Marquis Hall (2006-07) and Bucknell's Kevin Bettencourt (2002-03). He led all players with 61 points in the Patriot League Tournament to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Lehigh's Marquis Hall and Zahir Carrington are putting up milestone numbers at the end of their career, and racking up accolades to go with it. Hall is up to 1,504 points and 561 assists, the only player in League history with 1,500 points/500 assists and second overall in career assists. He is one of 14 players to earn three All-League honors with his selection to the Second Team this season. Hall was also named the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season, and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Carrington was named the Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds in the title game, and putting up 40 points and 26 boards in the three contests. He is now in the top 10 in League annals in rebounding, and has totals of 1,243 points and 664 rebounds.
Offensive Success for Mountain Hawks
Lehigh rates among the top 50 teams in the NCAA in four different categories, including a No. 10 ranking with 40.0 three-point field goal percentage. The Mountain Hawks are 49th in scoring offense (75.1), 40th in assists (15.1) and 46th in assist/turnover ratio (1.16). The Mountain Hawks lead the Patriot League in all four categories as well as in scoring margin (+5.1) and field goal percentage (45.6). C.J. McCollum is second in the Patriot League and 45th nationally in scoring (18.9), while Marquis Hall is in the top 20 nationally in assists (5.7) and assist/turnover ratio (2.6).
Lehigh, Patriot League vs. NCAA Field
You have to go back to the opening night of the season, Nov. 13, to find Lehigh's only action against an NCAA Tournament participant this season. The Mountain Hawks dropped a 65-53 contest on the road at Richmond that night, and the Spiders earned the No. 7 seed in the South Region. Patriot League teams are 0-10 against the NCAA field excluding games against Lehigh.
Lehigh, Patriot League vs. Top 25
Lehigh's matchup with Kansas will be the first game against a top 25 opponent for the Mountain Hawks this season, and the fifth for a Patriot League school. Prior top 25 matchups include Colgate's losses at No. 12 Connecticut (Nov. 16) and No. 8 Syracuse (Nov. 30) as well as losses for both Lafayette and American at Georgetown, which was ranked No. 18 against the Leopards on Nov. 28 and No. 16 vs. the Eagles on Dec. 5.
Scouting the Jayhawks
Kansas has been ranked as the No. 1 team in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll for a good portion of the season, and holds that ranking going into the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big 12 Tournament title on Saturday. The Jayhawks hold an overall record of 32-2, and also won the Big 12 regular-season crown with a 15-1 mark. Kansas is the top overall seed in the field, and one of four No. 1 seeds along with Kentucky (East), Duke (South) and Syracuse (West).
NCAA Midwest Regional - First Round
No. 16 Lehigh (22-10, 10-4 PL) vs. No. 1 Kansas (32-2, 15-1 Big 12)
Ford Center; Oklahoma City, Okla. - Thursday, 9:40 p.m.
Series First Meeting TV CBS
Lehigh heads to the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship for the fourth time overall and first since 2004, where the Patriot League champion Mountain Hawks earn a No. 16 seed in the Midwest Region and will square off with overall No. 1 seed Kansas on Thursday at 9:40 p.m. at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City...The teams are meeting for the first time...Lehigh's previous NCAA appearances were in 1985, 1988 and 2004, where they lost in the Opening Round game to Florida A & M...Patriot League teams are 2-18 in the NCAA Tournament, and 2-15 in the first round...Patriot League squads are 1-2 against Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, with Bucknell scoring a 64-63 win over the Jayhawks in 2005...That game was exactly five years to the day and in the same location as the matchup on Thursday...Kansas won the Big 12 regular-season and Tournament titles, and comes into the game with a record of 32-2 overall...The Jayhawks are the No. 1 team in the country in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today top 25 polls.
Lehigh The Mountain Hawks completed an impressive run in the Patriot League Tournament by defeating Lafayette, 74-59, for the League Championship at Stabler Arena on Friday...Lehigh won its second Patriot League title, and first since 2004...The Mountain Hawks became the eighth Patriot League school with multiple titles, and improved to 2-0 in the Championship game...Lehigh is the fifth consecutive No. 1 seed to win the title, and 16th in 20 Patriot League seasons...The Mountain Hawks won each Patriot League Tournament game by 15 points or more, the first team to pull off that feat...They won for the fifth straight time, and finished 15-2 at Stabler Arena...Zahir Carrington was named Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player after posting his second-consecutive double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and also blocking four shots in the final nine minutes....C.J. McCollum scored 20 points for Lehigh to lead all scorers, while Dave Buchberger had 13 and Michael Ojo scored 11...Lehigh led from start to finish, scoring the first six points and taking a 35-29 lead at halftime...Lafayette came all the way back to close within 51-50 with just over 10 minutes to play, but Lehigh ended the game on a 23-9 run...Buchberger hit a three for a four-point lead, and Carrington broke the game wide open with back-to-back dunks for a 68-58 edge with 2:08 left...Lehigh led by double digits the rest of the way, closing on a 12-1 run...Lehigh shot 27-of-55 for the game, making 15-of-26 after halftime....Lehigh connected on 7-of-19 three-pointers and 13-of-17 free throws in the game...The Mountain Hawks held a 40-33 advantage on the boards, led by the 10 from Carrington as well as seven for McCollum...Marquis Hall had seven of the team's 18 assists...Hall and McCollum were each named to the Patriot League All-Tournament Team.