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Introducing Cinderella: The Bucknell Bison are headed to the NCAA tournament

2016 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational - Norfolk v Bucknell

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 24: Nana Foulland #20 of the Bucknell Bison blocks a shot by Jonathan Wade #3 of the Norfolk State Spartans during the 2016 Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on November 24, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Conference: Patriot League

Coach: Nathan Davis

Record: 26-8 (15-3 1st)

Ratings and Rankings:

Kenpom: 81
RPI: 65
AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding: A respectable RPI should keep Bucknell off the two bottom seed lines and on to something in the 14 range.

Names you need to know: Nana Foulland, and not just because it’s an awesome name. The 6-foot-9 junior is putting up 14.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting a scintillating 62.7 percent from the floor. Zach Thomas is Bucknell’s leading scorer at 16 points per game, and he also averages 6.5 boards per outing. Kimbal Mackenzie and Stephen Brown both average in double figures scoring.

Stats you need to know: The Bison’s overall strength of schedule would give them the look of cupcake killers, but if you dig a little deeper, it’s reason to think they might be able to pull off an upset. Sure, overall, it’s ranked 313th by KenPom in the country, but that was drug down by a Patriot League that didn’t offer a ton of resistance. In the non-con, Bucknell ranked in the upper half of the country in strength of schedule. It wasn’t exactly a murderer’s row, but the Bison were tested.

Big wins, bad losses: Bucknell topped Vanderbilt and Richmond in the non-conference, but a loss to Loyola (Md.) is a significant blip on the radar.

How’d they get here?: The Bison beat Army in the Patriot League opener and followed that up with a win against Navy. In the league title game, Bucknell held just a one-point halftime advantage over Lehigh, but outscored the Mountain Hawks by 15 in the second half to cruise to third NCAA tournament in the last six years.

Outlook: Bucknell has shown it can play with bigger programs this season, and a one-two punch of Thomas and Foulland is formidable, as is having a supporting cast like Mackenzie and Brown. The Bison could be a tricky out for a Power 5 team sneaking a peak to later in the week.

How do I know you?: Sorry, Kansas fans.