Mountain Hawks' Wings Clipped Without C.J. McCollum

Lehigh fans won't have as much to cheer for without C.J. McCollum - James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

Without star guard C.J. McCollum, Lehigh will have trouble scoring, especially from outside the paint. This likely means the Mountain Hawks season will end after the Patriot League conference tournament.

It is now official. C.J. McCollum has a broken foot and will be out for 8-10 weeks. Say goodbye to the Lehigh season.

At best, McCollum will be back for the first weekend in March. At worst, he will miss the season entirely. Either way, the chances of the Mountain Hawks competing past the Patriot League conference tournament is minimal.

The biggest reason is that there is no one to replace McCollum and the production he provides. He was the team's -- and the nation's -- leading scorer. He was taking 37 percent of the shots when he was in the game.

There is no one left on the roster who could take those shots and do it was well.

Lehigh was already near the bottom of the list in terms of the number of minutes that it gave to the bench. With Corey Schaefer presumably moving up into the starting lineup, the number of players who have contributed quality minutes to the Mountain Hawks this season is few. Now play against a bigger and tougher team like Bucknell, and watch the Mountain Hawks suffer from bench depth.

Running the HOOPWAR numbers on the Mountain Hawks leads me to believe they are on track for five fewer wins than they would have had with McCollum. That is based on the difference in performance so far between what Shaefer has given them and what McCollum has done (3.6 HW vs. 0.5 HW) so far.

Where are those losses coming? I am guessing both Bucknell games will go down as losses. The away game against American is probably another. After that it is probably games against Holy Cross, or even Army that might come back to bite them.

It is just going to be hard to compete without McCollum consistently knocking down shots. We saw that when he got into foul trouble against Baylor to begin the year. We saw that when he was nonexistent against Virginia Commonwealth.

Even if Gabe Knutson or Holden Greiner take more shots, that is not going to help with the outside scoring. Mackey McKnight isn't productive, or efficient enough.

Schaefer has done well in limited minutes, but with the extra shots and the extra time on the floor, he is more likely to go backwards rather than forwards.

This is a sad day for mid-major fans. One of the best players to walk on the court from these ranks has probably seen the last of his time on the floor in college. And his team -- a team that gave us one of the greatest upsets of all time in the NCAA Tournament -- will fade out as a result.

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