Patriot League stars McCollum, Muscala ready for senior year showdown

Bucknell's Mike Muscala

Oct. 18, 2012

Lehigh's masterful upset of Duke in the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament was the biggest moment in the history of the program. The school's first-ever NCAA tournament win came over the sport's most decorated current coach and the winningest team in the event's 64-or-more team era. The victory takes a rightful place next to Bucknell's 2005 stunner over Kansas as the greatest results in the 20-plus years of the Patriot League.

But in terms of this season and what it means for Lehigh and Patriot League basketball, an equally important moment arrived two days after the Duke game. It was then, with a ticket to the Sweet 16 seemingly within their grasp, that the Mountain Hawks let a 15-point lead slip away against Xavier, shooting 5-for-34 from the field in the second half of a 70-58 loss. Among other things, that defeat led star guard C.J. McCollum to return for his senior season after considering an early jump to the NBA.

That suits Bucknell center Mike Muscala just fine. The Bison, condemned to the NIT last season after a home loss to Lehigh in the Patriot title game, watched their own quality postseason victory at Arizona get quickly washed under by the post-Duke Lehigh love. Plus, the scoreboard now reads McCollum 2, Muscala 1 -- in terms of NCAA bids and league Player of the Year awards through three seasons of one of the nation's juiciest and least-heralded star showdowns. Think Muscala's noticed that he has one last shot to even the score?

For the complete article by Andy Glockner of SI.Com go here