Introducing Cinderella: Dangerous Bucknell is headed back to the Big Dance
Conference: Patriot League
Coach: Nathan Davis
Record: 25-9, 16-2 (First in the Patriot League)
Rankings and Ratings:
- Kenpom: 107
- RPI: 85
- AP/USA TODAY: Not ranked
Seeding: Bucknell likely finds itself in the 13-14 seed range since they were clearly the best team in the Patriot League this season. Although the Bison come from a one-bid league, they own a top-100 RPI thanks to an impressive final few months.
Names you need to know: A trio of senior double-figure scorers forms the backbone of this Bucknell roster. Senior forward Zach Thomas is putting up monster numbers (20.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg) as he earned Patriot League Player of the Year. Senior center Nana Foulland (15.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and senior guard Stephen Brown (14.7 ppg, 4.3 apg) were also first-team all-league selections with Thomas.
Stats you need to know: Bucknell won’t be afraid to play an uptempo opponent if it comes to that in the tournament. Rating at No. 35 in adjusted tempo nationally, according to KenPom, the Bison like to get up and down the floor with their veteran team and three senior scorers.
Big wins, bad losses: Bucknell only has one top-100 win this season when they beat Vermont at home by four points. The Bison don’t have a lot of quality wins in general. In terms of losses, Bucknell lost road games at Arkansas, North Carolina, Maryland and VCU during the non-conference portion of the schedule as the last two losses were very close games.
How’d they get here?: Winning 18 of their last 19 games, the Bison will be one of the hottest teams in the field. Bucknell held off Loyola (MD) in the Patriot League quarterfinals before taking down Boston and Colgate to claim the title.
Outlook: Bucknell is going to be one of the more dangerous double-digit seeds in the field. With the top four players all returning from a team that gave No. 4 seed West Virginia a scare last season, Bucknell is a team nobody wants to face in the first round.
How do I know you?: Since 2011, Bucknell has played in either the NIT or the NCAA tournament in every season except for one -- a truly impressive streak for a team in a one-bid league. The Bison lost by only six points to No. 4 seed West Virginia last season in the NCAA tournament. Bucknell also won NCAA tournament games in back-to-back seasons when they defeated Kansas and Arkansas in the first round in 2005 and 2006.