After last year's thrilling Patriot League Championship game with Lehigh, Bucknell entered the 2012-2013 season with high expectations. They began the season with a pair of five point victories at Purdue and home against George Mason, followed by three wins of fifteen or more points.
They sat at 5-0 going into Thanksgiving break and a matchup at Penn State, but the defensive struggle resulted in a 60-57 loss for the Bison. They shot 39% from the field, but held Penn State to only 38%. The Bison went on to win eight of the next nine games, with the loss coming at Princeton. They had quality wins over La Salle and Kent State.
The next game was their first bonafide showdown of the year, as they traveled to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers. After a hard fought battle in which Mike Muscala put up 25 points and 14 rebounds, the Bison lost a heartbreaker, 66-64. With a four point lead at halftime, they were controlling All-American guard Phil Pressey, as well as Co-SEC Preseason player of the year Lawrence Bowers. This loss was tough for the Bison, but a great way to show that they are a force to be reckoned with.
They continued their dominance throughout Patriot League play, winning their record-setting third straight outright Patriot League Championship. They finished league play with a 12-2 record, with losses coming at home to Lehigh and at Lafayette, the 2nd and 3rd place teams, by a combined 4 points. Four of their losses were by a combined 9 points. The loss at Princeton was by 12, on a night when Princeton shot 51% from the field and 44% from the arc.
All in all, the Bison have showed that they are a very experienced team, and if it wasn't for hot shooting by Princeton and some missed shots in the final minutes of other games, the Bison could be undefeated. Bucknell is also used to being underrated. They pulled off one of the greatest upsets of all time in the NCAA Tournament when they knocked off #3 seed Kansas in 2005.
With NBA Draft Prospect Mike Muscala at Center, all teams will have their hands full. Mike is currently averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds per game. He has showed his dominance all year, especially against Missouri's big man Alex Orhiaki, another NBA prospect. Cameron Ayers and Bryson Johnson are the sharpshooters, who collectively shoot above 41% from 3-point range. Senior Joe Willman has a great low-post game, as well as a great mid-range shot where he shoots over 48% from the field.
Don't glance past Bucknell on your bracket. If they play to their full capabilities, this Bison squad can shock the world.