Bucknell's Mike Muscala
March 17, 2013
The game will tip off at 12:40 p.m. ET and be shown on TruTV with Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce calling the action.
It is the highest seed for a Patriot League team since the Bison claimed a No. 9 in 2006. Bucknell accounts for two of the Patriot League's three victories in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, winning Round of 64 games against Kansas (2005) and Arkansas (2006). The third came last year when No. 15 seed Lehigh beat No. 2 Duke in a Round of 64 contest.
The Bison (28-5) have won seven straight and 12 of their last 13 games entering the NCAA Tournament, and finished 12-2 in Patriot League play to earn their third consecutive outright regular-season title. Bucknell defeated Lafayette 64-56 in the Patriot League Championship on Wednesday to win its fourth League title in the last nine seasons. Senior center Mike Muscala was named Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player after previously claiming the Player of the Year. Defensive Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards. Muscala averages 19.0 points per game and is fourth in the country with 11.2 rebounds per contest.
Bucknell previously represented the Patriot League in the NCAA Tournament in 2005, 2006 and 2011, and is making its sixth appearance overall after also going in 1987 and 1989 before the Patriot League became an all-sport conference. Bucknell's four appearances as a Patriot League member are second to only Holy Cross (five) in conference history.
The Bison were seeded 14th when they beat No. 3 seed Kansas in 2005, and won as the No. 9 seed against No. 8 Arkansas the next season. Bucknell fell in a Round of 64 matchup in 2011 as a No. 14 seed to No. 3 Connecticut, who went on to win the national championship. Bucknell has a 2-5 record in the tourney.
Patriot League teams are 3-21 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including a 3-17 mark in the Round of 64.
Butler (26-8) is in its first year in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The Bulldogs went 11-5 in league play, falling in the semifinals of the conference tournament to St. Louis on Saturday. They own wins this season over Indiana and Gonzaga, who each earned No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs are back in the tournament after missing last year, but made it to the national championship game in their previous two appearances in 2010 and 2011. Butler will be making its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance since 1997.
It will be the fourth meeting between the Patriot League and Atlantic 10 in the NCAA tourney. Most recently, Lehigh fell to Xavier 70-58 in last year's Round of 32. The Atlantic 10 has won all three NCAA Tournament meetings between the leagues.
The winner of the Bucknell/Butler game will play on Saturday against the winner of the matchup between No. 14 seed Davidson and No. 3 Marquette. The bottom half of the East Region also includes No. 10 Colorado against No. 7 Illinois and No. 15 Pacific versus No. 2 Miami (Fla.) in games played on Friday in Austin, Texas. The top half of the East Region features No. 1 Indiana vs. No. 16 LIU Brooklyn/James Madison, No. 8 North Carolina State vs. No. 9 Temple, No. 5 UNLV vs. No. 12 California and No. 4 Syracuse vs. No. 13 Montana.
Louisville received the No. 1 overall seed in the field, and will play in the other bracket in Lexington. The Cardinals face No. 16 Liberty/North Carolina A & T, while No. 8 Colorado State faces No. 9 Missouri to complete the Lexington brackets.
Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*Bucknell opens the NCAA Tournament against Butler on Thursday.
*The game will tip off at 12:40 p.m. ET on TruTV.
*The Bison are in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time, and fourth as a Patriot League member.
*Bucknell has a 2-5 record in the tourney with Round of 64 victories against Kansas (2005) and Arkansas (2006).
*Patriot League teams are 3-17 in the Round of 64, and 3-21 in the tourney.
*Lehigh also recorded a Round of 64 win last year against Duke.
*The Bison have won seven straight and 12 of their last 13 games.
*Bucknell has set a school and Patriot League record with 28 wins this season.
*The Bison have a 2-1 mark against fellow NCAA Tournament teams.
*Mike Muscala averages 19.0 points and 11.2 rebounds per game and leads the nation with 22 double-doubles.
*He was named Patriot League Tournament MVP as well as the Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
*Head Coach Dave Paulsen goes for his 100th win at the school.
*Lehigh becomes the first Patriot League team to play in the College Basketball Invitational when it visits Wyoming on Tuesday.
*It is the second straight year with multiple League teams in the postseason.
Patriot League Postseason Notebook
More Multi-Team Success?
It is the third time that multiple Patriot League teams play in postseason tournaments, and in the previous two League squads posted victories in more than one event. Last season, the roles were reversed as Lehigh won a Round of 64 game in the NCAA Tournament while Bucknell won its first-round NIT contest against Arizona. It also happened in 2005 when Bucknell beat Kansas in the NCAA Tournament and Holy Cross won an NIT game at Notre Dame.
Bucknell History in NCAA Tournament
Bucknell has a 2-5 record in the NCAA Tournament, with the wins coming in back-to-back seasons in 2005 and 2006. The Bison won as a No. 14 seed against No. 3 Kansas by a 64-63 final in 2005, then earned a victory as a No. 9 by a 59-55 score over No. 8 Arkansas the next season. The Bison dropped the ensuing Round of 32 games each season, and also fell in Round of 64 games in 1987, 1989 and most recently in 2011 against eventual national champion Connecticut.
Patriot League History in NCAA Tournament
The Bison account for a good chunk of the positive history for the Patriot League in the NCAA tourney. League squads are a combined 3-21 in the event, with a 3-17 mark in the Round of 64. Lehigh added a win to the ledger last year when it pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tourney history as a No. 15 seed against No. 2 Duke 75-70 in Greensboro, N.C. Patriot League teams have dropped all three meetings with teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Patriot League vs. NCAA Field
Patriot League teams went 3-14 against the NCAA Tournament field, but Bucknell earned two of the wins. The Bison beat La Salle 74-66 at home on Dec. 15 and won a neutral site game against New Mexico State 62-49 on Nov. 17. Bucknell was nearly perfect against NCAA Tournament teams, but fell 66-64 at Missouri on Jan. 5.
History-Making Season for Bucknell
Bucknel added its latest line of history when it won a Patriot League and school-record 28th game in the League Championship against Lafayette on Wednesday. It broke the mark set by the Bison in 2005-06 and Lehigh last season. Bucknell was also the first team to earn 12 League victories in three straight seasons and second to garner the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament for three years in a row. Bucknell also has a three-year school and League record with 78 wins, and the class of 2013 has the most wins in program history with 92. The Bison are one of seven Division I teams with at least 28 wins for the season, joining Kansas, Louisville, Memphis, New Mexico, Middle Tennessee and Gonzaga.
Bucknell will play under the bright lights of Rupp Arena on Thursday, but the Bison have not been intimidated by unfamiliar surroundings this year. Bucknell is tied for the national lead with 12 road victories, and is the only team in the NCAA Tournament to win 12 games on the road. Bucknell's 14 road/neutral wins are tied for second in the country behind only Gonzaga.
Muscala Enjoying Fantastic Senior Season.....
Bucknell senior center Mike Muscala has re-written the history books in 2013, and may have more to come. He became the first person in Patriot League history named both the Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. He added Tournament MVP honors last week, and is the first to win the Player of the Year and Tournament MVP in the same season twice (2011). Muscala is just 20 rebounds away from the Patriot League career record of 1,103 held by Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1994-97), and needs only five boards to break Foyle's single-season record of 372. He set a Patriot League Tournament record with 38 rebounds in Bucknell's three victories. Muscala is also up to 2,027 points, just five away from fourth place in League history. Muscala is averaging 19.0 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, and leads the nation with 22 double-doubles.
....And Has the Recognition to Prove It
Muscala is one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Men's College Player of the Year Award presented by AT&T and has also been named as one of 25 players up for the Lou Henson Award, given by CollegeInsider.com to the Mid-Major Player of the Year. He was also named a USBWA All-District selection last week.
Paulsen Can Become Fastest in Patriot League History to 100 Wins
Earlier in the season, Lehigh Head Coach Brett Reed became the fastest to reach 100 wins at a Patriot League school when he hit the milestone in his 165th game. If Bucknell wins on Thursday, Dave Paulsen will do it in one less by recording his 100th win at Bucknell in his 164th game at the school. Paulsen is 99-64 in his fifth year at Bucknell and 361-184 in his 19th season overall.
NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship - Second Round (East Region)
No. 11 Bucknell Bison (28-5, 12-2 PL) vs. No. 6 Butler Bulldogs (26-8, 11-5 A-10)
Rupp Arena; Lexington, Ky. - Thursday, 12:40 p.m.
TV: TruTV (Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)
Series: First Meeting
Bucknell NCAA Tournament History (2-5)
1987: #1 Georgetown 75, #16 Bucknell 53
1989: #2 Syracuse 104, #15 Bucknell 81
2005: #14 Bucknell 64, #3 Kansas 63; #6 Wisconsin 71, #14 Bucknell 62
2006: #9 Bucknell 59, #8 Arkansas 55; #1 Memphis 72, #9 Bucknell 56
2011: #3 Connecticut 81, #14 Bucknell 52
*Patriot League champion Bucknell meets Butler to open up the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship.
*The game tips off at 12:40 p.m. ET on Thursday and can be seen on TruTV.
*It is the first meeting between the schools, and first time a Patriot League team plays Butler in the tournament.
*Patriot League teams are 1-2 all-time against the Bullodgs, with Lehigh the last to play Butler in 2005.
*Patriot League teams are 3-21 in the NCAA Tournament, and 3-17 in the Round of 64.
*Bucknell owns two of the wins, beating Kansas in 2005 as a No. 14 seed and Arkansas in 2006 as a No. 9 seed.
*Lehigh also won as a No. 15 seed against Duke in the Round of 64 last year.
*The Patriot League is 0-3 against teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference in the NCAA Tournament.
*Patriot League teams were 2-2 against the A-10 this year, including Bucknell's win over La Salle on Dec. 15.
*The winner will play on Saturday against the winner of the Davidson/Marquette matchup.
BUCKNELL A record-setting season has Bucknell in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last nine years and sixth in school history...The Bison set a Patriot League and school mark with 28 victories when they defeated Lafayette 64-56 in the League Championship on Wednesday...Bucknell also beat Navy 58-42 and Army 78-70 in the Patriot League Tournament...Bucknell senior center Mike Muscala was named Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player after previously being honored as the Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year during the season...Muscala leads the Patriot League with 19.0 points per game and 11.2 rebounds, good for fourth in the nation...He leads the nation with 22 double-doubles...Muscala was the first to win both the Player of the Year and Tournament MVP honors twice in his career, also doing so as a sophomore in 2011...He was joined on the All-Tournament Team by senior Joe Willman and junior Cameron Ayers...Ayers also joined Muscala as a first-team All-Patriot League selection, while Bryson Johnson and Muscala were Academic All-Patriot League picks...Bucknell has won seven straight and 12 of its last 13 games entering the NCAA Tournament...The Bison are in the top 10 nationally in field-goal percentage defense, assist/turnover ratio and turnovers per game, where they stand second in the NCAA with only 9.5 per contest...Bucknell Head Coach Dave Paulsen goes for his 100th win at the school on Thursday, which would make him the fastest Patriot League coach to reach the mark (164th game)...The Bison have won a program record 78 games over the last three seasons, also the best three-year run in Patriot League history.