Yahoo! Sports is breaking down each league for the upcoming college basketball season working backward from No. 31 to No. 1. Here's a look at our No. 17 league, the Patriot League.
Bucknell edged Lehigh for the regular season crown only to have to settle for an NIT bid after falling to the Mountain Hawks in the Patriot League title game.
With Bucknell and Lehigh returning stars Mike Muscala and C.J. McCollum and much of their respective supporting casts, the Patriot League again appears likely to be a two-team race this season. American or Holy Cross could nudge their way into the race if their young players exceed expectations, but neither appear to have quite as much top-flight talent as the Bison or Mountain Hawks.
If Lehigh is a slight favorite in the league race, it's probably because of McCollum, one of the premier guards in the nation next season and a potential first-round pick in the NBA draft next June. The 6-foot-3 senior averaged 21.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season, earning him player of the year honors for the second time in three years.
McCollum is the face of Lehigh's program and the unquestioned team leader, but he can't be a one-man show if the Mountain Hawks are going to succeed again this season. Forwards Gabe Knutson and Holden Greiner must control the boards and provide interior scoring and point guard Mackey McKnight must build on his strong play during Lehigh's postseason run last year.Read More »from Patriot League Preview: Expect another spirited Bucknell-Lehigh title race