Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dancing with the Stars: Bucknell Bison

For our capsules for every auto-bid, click here.

Conference: Patriot

Record: 25-8, 13-1

Rankings: 90 (KenPom), 87 (Sagarin), 81 (RPI)

Potential Seed: 14/13. More than likely to be a 14, but with some help from bid-theives, they could get a 13 seed

Best Players: Mike Muscala (14.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.1 bpg), Bryson Johnson (11.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 46% 3PT), Darryl Shazier (8.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.6 apg, 1.5 spg)

Big Wins, Bad Losses: The Bison have a descent strength-of-schedule for a low-major school. They have a win over America East champions Boston, a road-win over Richmond and won all but one of their conference games. The one conference loss was their worst loss of the season, losing at home to Army by 20 points. They also had a three-game losing streak in which they lost to Princeton, James Madison and Wagner.

Tendencies: Bucknell is very good at creating points. They are in the top-50 in assists and are above the NCAA average for offensive efficiency. The Bison's problem is that they do not have a lot of size. Mike Muscala, the Patriot League Player of the Year and Tournament MVP, is about the team's only source of rebounds. Bucknell is ranked 215th in overall rebounding, and if they can't make their shots, could get outworked on the glass against a bigger, more physical team.

How They Got There: The Bison were the preseason favorites to win the conference. They were in first place for every week and only lost one league game. In fact, they have only lost one game since Christmas and are currently riding a ten game win streak. In their last five games, they have been winning by an average margin of 14.6 points.

Outlook: This program does have NCAA tournament success, best known was their stunning upset of No. 3 Kansas in 2005. But the Bison won a first round game in 2006 as well, when they defeated No. 8 Arkansas. Not much is the same about this current Bucknell team. The Bison do have a player talented enough to take over (Muscala) and they are an efficient team in terms of shooting percentages. A first round upset victory is not out of the realm of possibility, depending on the matchup. A trip to the Sweet Sixteen however, probably is.

No comments: