Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 11.9.12

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Dave Dudzinski and Holy Cross have a busy opening weekend with three games at the Liberty Tax Classic.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG
Dave Dudzinski and Holy Cross have a busy opening weekend with three games at the Liberty Tax Classic.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

Nov. 9, 2012

Patriot League Men's Basketball Weekend Preview - 11.9.12 Get Acrobat Reader
Nov. 9 Gameday

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The most anticipated season in Patriot League history finally gets going on Friday when seven of the League's eight schools take the court.

The showcase game of the weekend will come first, as defending champion Lehigh visits No. 18/19 Baylor on Friday at 5 p.m. in game shown on Fox Sports Southwest. The Mountain Hawks enter the season as Patriot League favorites while senior guard C.J. McCollum has earned numerous preseason All-America honors and been named a Wooden Award candidate.

Bucknell will also have an intriguing opener when it visits Purdue on Friday. It's not the only opener against a Big 10 team as Colgate goes to Illinois and American is at Minnesota on Friday as well.

Two teams open the season at home on Friday, with Lafayette Head Coach Fran O'Hanlon in his 500th game at the school when the Leopards host St. Francis (NY).Navy welcomes Marymount to Annapolis.

Holy Cross and Army open the season with multiple games at tournaments. The Crusaders play in the Liberty Tax Classic, taking on host Old Dominion Friday, Texas-San Antonio Saturday and Morgan State Sunday. The Black Knights once again start at the All-Military Classic, facing Air Force Saturday and either VMI or The Citadel Sunday. Also on Sunday, Colgate is at Marquette in a game shown on ESPNU at 4:30 p.m, while Navy plays at home against Siena.

Patriot League Gameday pages will be posted each day to provide live stats, audio and video links for all games, as well as a synopsis, recap and box score after the contests. The Gameday link for Friday's seven contests is here

Patriot League Twitter Notebook - @PL_MBB
*All eight Patriot League teams tip off the 2012-13 season this weekend.
*Lafayette's Fran O'Hanlon is coaching his 500th game at the school on Friday night at home against St. Francis (NY).
*Holy Cross has the most action with three games at the Liberty Tax Classic.
*Navy hosts Marymount on Friday and Siena on Sunday.
*Army plays games at the All-Military Classic on Saturday and Sunday.
*Five of the 13 weekend games are against teams from BCS-level conferences.
*Lehigh plays at No. 18/19 Baylor on Friday at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest.
*Three games against Big 10 opponents are on Friday's schedule as Bucknell goes to Purdue, Colgate is at Illinois and American heads to Minnesota.
*Lehigh's C.J. McCollum has earned multiple preseason honors including a spot as a Wooden Award candidate on Thursday.
*He was named a first-team preseason All-American by the Associated Press, Sporting News and a panel at ESPN.com.
*McCollum is just one point away from second place in Patriot League history.
*McCollum and Bucknell's Mike Muscala were both honored in the preseason as Lou Henson All-Americans and Mid-Major All-Americans by NBC Sports.
*Lehigh comes in at No. 6 and Bucknell is No. 16 in the preseason College Insider Mid-Major top 25.
*Nine players who have earned All-Patriot League honors are back in 2012-13, including seven who were named to the team last year.

Patriot League Notebook

Lehigh's McCollum Earns Numerous Preseason Accolades
The preseason honors for Lehigh senior guard C.J. McCollum continued to pour in all the way until the final day before the 2012-13 season, when he was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the Wooden Award on Thursday. McCollum was a first-team preseason All-America selection from the Associated Press, Sporting News and a panel at ESPN.com. He was also named a fourth-team preseason All-American by CBS Sports and the Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year along with a host of other accolades and recognition.

McCollum, Muscala Team Up for Additional Honors
Bucknell senior Mike Muscala was not far behind McCollum in the national awards category, with the players appearing on the same list multiple times. Each player was on the 25-man Lute Olson Preseason All-America Team from College Insider, with the duo comprising two of the 10 Mid-Major players on the list. Both players received Mid-Major All-America honors from NBC Sports (McCollum 1st team, Muscala 2nd) and were ranked among the top 100 in all of college basketball by CBS Sports, with McCollum at No. 17 and Muscala at No. 80. CBS Sports also had at each player as among the best in the country at his position. The website MidMajorMadness.com called McCollum one of the top Mid-Major players in the nation, and listed Muscala as one of five to watch.

Three Patriot Leaguers Named Senior CLASS Award Candidates
Muscala and McCollum also excel off the court, and it was shown when the pair represented the Patriot League along with Lehigh's Gabe Knutson as Senior CLASS Award candidates. The honor selects student-athletes based on notable achievements in four areas - community, classroom, character and competition. The Patriot League is second to the Big 10 with three candidates, while Lehigh is the only school with multiple student-athletes on the list.

Lehigh, Bucknell Each Ranked in Mid-Major top 25
Led by the superstars and veteran supporting casts, Lehigh and Bucknell were each recognized as top teams in the College Insider Mid-Major Preseason top 25. The Mountain Hawks came in at No. 6 in the ranking, while the Bison were ranked No. 16. In addition, Lehigh starts the season with two points in the Associated Press top 25.

Lafayette's O'Hanlon Set to Coach 500th Game
Already the longest-tenured coach in Patriot League history, Lafayette's Fran O'Hanlon will begin his 18th season on Friday evening by coaching in his 500th career game when the Leopards host St. Francis (NY). O'Hanlon has a 239-260 record at the school. While he will become the first to coach 500 games at one school in the Patriot League era, O'Hanlon will join American's Jeff Jones and Bucknell's Dave Paulsen as Patriot League head coaches with 500 games in their career. Navy's Ed DeChellis will hit the 500 mark for his career later in the season.

Nine All-League Players Return To The Court in 2012-13
McCollum and Muscala generate the headlines, but they are not the only players back who have made the All-Patriot League Team. Five additional All-League selections return from last year, as Army's Ella Ellis made the first team and Bucknell's Joe Willman and Cameron Ayers, Lehigh's Gabe Knutson and Lafayette's Tony Johnson were all second-team picks. Bucknell has a fourth player with an All-League spot to his credit as Bryson Johnson was named to the second team in 2011. American's Stephen Lumpkins, who missed last season while playing professional baseball, also made the second-team All-League squad in 2011.

Patriot League Teams Take on Tough Non-League Opponents
The first two months of the season will feature a non-League schedule that includes 36 games against opponents which played in the postseason last year. That slate has 15 games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, and matchups with both of the national title-game participants. Lehigh's game at No. 18/19 Baylor on Friday is the first of five against teams in the preseason AP or ESPN/USA Today top 25.

Patriot League on CBS Sports Network
The Patriot League and CBS Sports Network unveiled a basketball television schedule for the 2013 season that showcases 13 contests, including the Patriot League Men's Basketball Championship on CBS Sports Network for the second year in a row on Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network will air both semifinal games of the Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 9 at 2:00 and 4:30 p.m. as well as 10 regular-season contests.

Team Notebooks

American The Eagles open the season with a visit to Minnesota on Friday evening...They are one of two Patriot League teams to play the Gophers this year...American loses more than 30 points per game from last season with the graduation of Charles Hinkle and Troy Brewer, but the Eagles look strong in the frontcourt with Stephen Lumpkins returning to the floor. Lumpkins was a second-team All-Patriot League pick in 2011 with 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He will be joined in the frontcourt by Tony Wroblicky (6.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg), with Daniel Munoz (8.0 ppg, 4.2 apg) running the point.

Army The Black Knights once again play in the All-Military Classic to tip off the 2012-13 campaign, facing Air Force on Saturday and either VMI or The Citadel on Sunday...Army has the only player outside of Bucknell and Lehigh that made the Preseason All-Patriot League Team, as senior Ella Ellis averaged 17.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last year...He leads a team that brings back nearly every significant player...Josh Herbeck (10.3 ppg) and Maxwell Lenox (6.4 ppg, 3.2 apg) each come off solid seasons for fourth-year Head Coach Zach Spiker.

Bucknell The Bison begin a very challenging non-League schedule on Friday with a trip to Purdue as part of the 2K Sports Classic...The Bison bring back the core of last year's squad with Bryan Cohen as the only significant departure...Mike Muscala was fourth in the Patriot League with 17.0 points per game and led the conference with 9.1 rebounds per contest...He has received numerous preseason Mid-Major All-America honors...Cameron Ayers added 11.1 points per game, while Joe Willman (10.7) and Bryson Johnson (9.3) also return as the Bison bring back the top four scorers from last year's squad.

Colgate The Raiders have a daunting task to open the 2012-13 season, playing at Illinois on Friday night and Marquette on Sunday on ESPNU as opening games of the EA Sports Maui Invitational...Matt Langel directs a Raider team that brings back leading scorer Pat Moore (9.9 ppg) and Mitch Rolls (8.6 ppg, 2.3 apg).

Holy Cross The Crusaders have the busiest weekend of any Patriot League team, playing three games in three days at the Liberty Tax Classic...They face host Old Dominion on Friday, then play Texas-San Antonio on Saturday and Morgan State on Sunday...Holy Cross loses top scorers Devin Brown and R.J. Evans, but the Crusaders have an inside and outside presence returning...Dave Dudzinski averaged 9.4 points and 6.0 rebounds per game to occupy the paint, while point guard Justin Burrell put up 7.4 points and 3.7 assists per game.

Lafayette Lafayette Head Coach Fran O'Hanlon will coach his 500th game when the Leopards host St. Francis (NY) on Friday...Top scorers Ryan Willen, Jim Mower and Rob Delaney have all graduated...Senior Tony Johnson only played in 12 games last year due to injury as he averaged 8.0 points and 4.3 assists per contest. Seth Hinrichs (8.5 ppg) and Dan Trist (5.7 ppg) each look to build on impressive freshman seasons.

Lehigh The defending champion Mountain Hawks have a challenging opener as they visit No. 18/19 Baylor on Friday...The game will be shown on Fox Sports Southwest at 5 p.m...Senior C.J. McCollum has earned numerous preseason All-American honors and been named a Wooden Award candidate...He led the conference with 21.9 points and 2.6 steals per game last season, ranking fifth nationally in each category...Gabe Knutson averaged 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest

Navy The Mids try to break a 22-game losing streak carried over from last year when they host Marymount on Friday.... Isaiah Roberts (7.1 ppg) and Worth Smith (6.8) are the top returning scorers for the Mids, who field one of the youngest rosters in the country without any seniors on the team.