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Saturday News:

Today's Game: Bucknell (11-1 / 0-0) vs. Princeton (4-6 / 0-0)
Location: Jadwin Gym - Princeton, NJ
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Radio: 103.3 fm WPRB
Series History: Princeton leads 10-4.
Last meeting: Bucknell 62 Princeton 56 - 11/25/11.

Bucknell Princeton
5-0 Home Record 1-3
4-1 Away Record 3-2
2-0 Neutral Record 0-1
30 RPI 223
40 Sagarin 157
42 Pomeroy 101
69.2 Points / Game 58.3
58.2 Points Allowed / Game 57.4
.459 FG% .439
.758 FT% .678
.369 3PT FG% .322
36.8 Rebounds / Game 30.0
8.5 Off. Rebounds / Game         7.9
+5.9 Rebounding Margin -1.3
12.6 Assists / Game 14.4
9.8 Turnovers / Game 14.2
4.5 Blocks / Game 2.4
Muscala: 18.8 Points Hummer: 15.3
Muscala: 10.8 Rebounds Hummer: 6.3
Muscala: 2.8 Assists Hummer: 4.9
Willman: 0.8 Steals Bray: 2.2
Muscala: 2.5 Blocks Hummer: 1.0
Muscala: .535 FG% (Min: 10 FGA) Brase: .583
Fitzpatrick: .857 FT% (Min: 10 FTA) Koon: .882
Johnson: .429 3PT FG% (Min: 10 3PTA)    Barrett: .500

American vs. Georgetown - 12:00 pm ET - ESPN+
Fairfield vs. St. Joe's - 2:00 pm ET
MCCC vs. Bronx - 3:00 pm ET
George Mason vs. Richmond - 3:00 pm ET - Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic
San Diego vs. Oregon State - 9:00 pm ET - Pac-12 Network

Dartmouth vs. Bryant - 1:00 pm ET
Cornell vs. Boston University - 1:00 pm ET
Holy Cross vs. Harvard - 2:00 pm ET
Elon vs. Columbia - 4:00 pm ET

There was some great conversation in the forum for the Rider game. Keep it going tonight when the Tigers face Bucknell!

Four notes on the Bison in lieu of a proper preview:

1. 6'11" senior center Mike Muscala is a special player who shoots the ball well both inside and out, plus draws 6.8 fouls/40 minutes. He's going to be a difficult assignment for all three (four?) Princeton big men who might check him defensively.

2. Bucknell may be the worst team in the nation in forcing turnovers and second-worst in creating steals but teams are shooting a very poor 41.5% from the floor against them. The Bison also protect the offensive glass exceptionally well. Their opponents' possessions usually end with a miss more than any other outcome.

3. As a team, Bucknell rarely turns the ball over and is very good at the line (76.6%). Too much attention to Muscala then opens the floor for a squad shooting 37.0% from deep. There's a reason the Bison are 11-1.

4. Notable victories include triumphs over #65 Purdue on the road, #91 George Mason at home, #103 New Mexico State on a neutral floor and #66 La Salle at home. I still don't understand how Bucknell lost to #192 Penn State in State College after the Nittany Lions lost guard Tim Frazier for the season.

The Hans Brase gamble paid off for Princeton in the Tigers' last contest.

There's a piece on the Rider game on the Mid-Majority.

Rush The Court checks in on the Ivy League.

Stanford edged Northwestern (8-4) by two in Evanston. After falling down 18 the Wildcats rallied on more than one occasion but both times they pulled even in the second half the Cardinal hit a three. A potentially tying runner and tip follow in the waning seconds did not drop for Bill Carmody's team.

Denver (4-6) easily handled Southern Utah, 72-47.

Games throughout the day begin with Georgetown hosting American, Fairfield visiting St. Joe's, Richmond and George Mason meeting at the Richmond Coliseum and finally Oregon State testing out the new home of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas by playing San Diego.

Around the Ivy League: Playing without three starters and five players total who were all suspended for a violation of team rules, Penn (2-8) lost for a second time this season to Delaware. On this occasion the final was 83-60.

George Clark said,

December 22, 2012 @ 11:16 am

I don't know what a "proper preview" might include that you did not. When the schedule was announced I made my personal predictions. I had us 7-3 on 12/21 and 7-4 on 12/23. Bucknell is a tremendous team, flukishly (in my opinion) denied an NCAA tournament berth last year. (I am certain Lehigh fans will disagree.) Bucknell's success is built upon the reliable all-around talents of Muscala. I had a chance recently to discuss the senior center with a member of the Tigers' staff, who suggested that most, if not all, of the Ivy teams recruited him, that his academics qualified him for admission to most Ivy schools, and certainly to Harvard. Bucknell offered him something Princeton could not: a full ride. Rare indeed is the kid who has the game to play at the highest level but the good sense to value the Ivy experience above the cost. Who can blame him? This is the reality of trying to build and sustain a D1 program in a system bound by constraints unknown in the world of Big Time Basketball. Thank goodness for the Mitch Hendersons and Jerome Allens of our world. And it may explain how a Princeton hero, having reached the mountaintop, could depart for Fairfield.

Steven Postrel said,

December 22, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

I'm hoping that the matchup will work more in Princeton's favor this time, as they are a better assist team than Bucknell and may be able to get some good looks close to the rim. Not having to worry about pressure will be a help too. Handling Muscala without giving up too many open threes or ORs is my big concern.

Stuart Schulman said,

December 23, 2012 @ 12:10 am

Have there been any hints about how long the five Penn players will remain benched?

Jon Solomon said,

December 23, 2012 @ 12:32 am

Not yet but the timing is eyebrow-raising.

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