- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

THE STAR

C Mike Muscala, Bucknell. The Bison’s star big man leads the Patriot in rebounds (9.1 per game), ranks second in field goal percentage (.502) and blocks (1.6) and is fourth in scoring (16.7). As a 6-foot-11 center with the ability to hit jump shots, he’s an unusual weapon in the PL.

THE FAVORITE

Bucknell. Aside from a two-game hiccup in mid-February (including at home to Lehigh), the Bison have been practically impervious to conference competition the last two seasons (25-3, including last year’s march to the league title). As the top seed, they have home-court advantage.

THE SLEEPER

American. The Eagles beat Lehigh earlier this month and played Bucknell tight for 35 minutes before yielding three straight 3-pointers in a 55-50 loss. The problem for coach Jeff Jones’ team? A 7-9 mark away from home. American might need two wins away from Bender Arena to seize a title.

LOCAL LOOK

American earned at least the No. 3 seed for the ninth time in its 11 years in the Patriot League. It swept quarterfinal opponent Army. Navy owns both the nation’s longest losing streak (21 games) and the nation’s longest conference tournament losing streak (11, dating to the 2001 Patriot final).

THE PICK

Bucknell. The defending league champions won’t leave Lewisburg and have the conference’s best player. The teams with the best chance of slowing down the Bison are American (with slasher Charles Hinkle) and Lehigh (and potent scorer C.J. McCollum).

SCHEDULE

Quarterfinals, Wednesday

No. 8 Navy at No. 1 Bucknell, 7

No. 5 Lafayette at No. 4 Holy Cross, 7

No. 7 Colgate at No. 2 Lehigh, 7

Story Continues →