C.J. McCollumBy Paul Seaver (TheArenaPulse) This post is part of The Arena Pulse's 2011-2012 Season Preview. For other previews, go to the '11-12 Season Preview page.
As college basketball turns the page into another new season, The Arena Pulse
will examine and predict some of the things to watch within the various conferences across the nation.
Let's take a look at the Patriot League:Defending Regular Season Champion:
BucknellDefending Tournament Champion:
BucknellTop Returning Scorer:
C.J. McCollum (Lehigh, 21.8 ppg)
College basketball fans across the country need to begin recognizing the name C.J. McCollum
. McCollum, now a junior at Lehigh, averaged 19.8 points per game as a freshman in 2009-10. He upped that scoring average to 21.8 last season, returning in 2011-12, as the nation's top overall scorer
The 6-foot-3 guard is the early favorite for the league's Player of the Year award, especially since he also returns as the top rebounder in the conference after averaging 7.8 boards per contest in 2010-11. While Lehigh has a star on their side, the race for a league title will still be challenging, given Bucknell is set to defend their crown in 2011-12.
Bucknell is the defending regular season and conference tournament champion within the Patriot League, an accolade which they hope to extend as this season progresses.
6-foot-11 forward Mike Muscala
anchors the Bison down low for Dave Paulsen
's squad. After averaging 14.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season, the junior will once again look to help guide Bucknell to the Big Dance.
The big off season news within the Patriot League was the addition of head coach Ed DeChellis
. After guiding Penn State to the NCAA Tournament last season, DeChellis surprised many by walking away from the Big Ten institution to become the head man at Navy. Senior guard Jordan Sugars
should benefit greatly from DeChellis' system in his final season at the Naval Academy.
While Bucknell and Lehigh enter the season as the two top dogs within the Patriot League, both Lafayette and Holy Cross should have the opportunity to challenge within the upper half of the standings. Senior guard Devin Brown
will lead the way for Holy Cross, while 6-foot junior Tony Johnson
will offer similar leadership at Lafayette.
Bucknell's 2006 squad was the last Patriot League team to win a game in the NCAA Tournament.Predicted Order of Finish:
3. Holy Cross
8. ArmyThe Arena Pulse Preseason Player of the Year:
C.J. McCollum (Lehigh)The Arena Pulse Preseason All-Patriot League First Team:
G C.J. McCollum (Lehigh)
G Devin Brown (Holy Cross)
G Jordan Sugars (Navy)
F Mike Muscala (Bucknell)
F Ella Ellis (Army)
*Photo: C.J. McCollum
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