Favorite(s)- Bucknell 25-5 12-2, Lehigh 20-8 10-4
Bucknell has clinched the regular season Patriot league title and after being defeated by Lehigh in the final last season, the Bison are looking to return to the NCAA Tournament. The Bison came oh so close to finishing conference play undefeated. The only losses suffered by the 25-5 Bison were a 1-point loss at Lafayette and a 3-point defeat at the hands of nemesis Lehigh.
Lehigh suffered a huge loss in January when All-American guard C.J. McCollum was lost for the season with a broken foot. The loss seemed to galvanize the Mountainhawks as they went 9-1 following the injury including a road win at Bucknell. They stumbled down the stretch however, losing three of their last five.
Contender(s)-Lafayette 17-14 10-4
There is one team in the Patriot league that has won 3 of the 4 games they’ve had with Lehigh (a season sweep) and Bucknell (a home win) and that are the Leopards of Lafayette. Lafayette may not do anything extremely well but they play hard and for such a young team have learned quickly, how to win on the road and win close games.
Team Likely to pull an upset- Lafayette (see above.)
3 Key Players- Mike Muscala-Bucknell, Gabe Knutson-Lehigh, Seth Hinrichs-Lafayette
Muscala is the overwhelming favorite to win POY honors in the league. The 6-11 senior does everything for the Bison, the team leader in points (19.1), rebounds (11.0), assists (2.5) and blocks (2.5). The double-double machine is the reason it would be shocking if Bucknell doesn’t at least make the Patriot League final.
When C.J. McCollum went down for the year that meant more of an emphasis would be put on Gabe Knutson. With the offense now running through him and fellow senior forward Holden Greiner, the Mountainhawk big man will have to continue the uptick he began offensively in February if Lehigh hopes to earn back-to-back NCAA berths.
Lafayette doesn’t have go-to-guy per se but if they want to crash the Bucknell/Lehigh party they are going to have to rely on sophomore guard Seth Hinrichs to lead them. The 2nd year man is going to have to be more consistent on the offensive end (14.5 points) for the Leopards to leap into the Patriot League title conversation.
2013 PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
March 6-13 Campus Sites
#1 Bucknell vs. #8 Navy
#4 Army vs. #5 American
#2 Lafayette vs. #7 Holy Cross
#3 Lehigh vs. #6 Colgate
#1/8 vs. #4/5
#2/7 vs. #3/6