Skip to main content

The LFN Basketball Challenge

I have a lot of backlog to cover: Marist's acceptance into the Pioneer Football league, reducing by one the already thin pool of potential Patriot League schools; the football awards ceremony, which took place some weeks back; and even talk about spring football. But right here, right now, this weekend only two things matter athletically against our (second) biggest hoops rival.

The Lady Hawks face a good possibility of being the #1 seed throughout the Patriot League tournament if they beat Holy Cross tomorrow, in Worcester, at 1PM. If they win, they won't only get a great seed for the tournament but also enact some revenge on the Crusaders after they escaped Stabler with a win in January. But unless you live in Massachusetts, the best you can do is listen online or catch it on 91.3 FM in the Valley.

It's tonight, at Stabler, where Lehigh will have their best chance to host a home tournament game this Wednesday. It may as well be a playoff game against Holy Cross: the loser will probably be mired in the lower seeding in the tournament and will most likely have to travel to Washington, DC.

And here is the challenge, to alumni, students and fans.

Go to the game.

I know, I know. It's at 9:00PM on a Friday night. There's lots you could be doing. Going on the Hill. Heading to the Tally Ho. Spending time with your family. Practicing your bugle playing. Parking yourself in front of a barstool, or maybe even your own HD-TV, and watching the game tonight on ESPNU.

The weather is supposed to be bad, with the chance of snow. And the school doesn't make it easy to go to games sometimes, reportedly posting breathalysers on buses over to Goodman and Stabler to see games.

But this sort of game is what college basketball is all about. Two league rivals. A young Lehigh team that simply cannot seem to beat the Crusaders year in and year out. A Holy Cross team who featured players who played in the Big Dance last year. And although it's not a playoff game, it may as well be billed as such, since the loser will probably drop to Navy or American next Wednesday.

This is Division I basketball. It's the same division as Georgetown, Alabama, Kansas and Memphis. The winner of the Patriot League will earn the right to line up, toe to toe, with a Memphis or a Georgetown in the NCAA tournament. The one that everyone in the office follows, whether they've heard of Drake or not.

Lehigh has a reputation as a football school. Admittedly, football is my main passion for Lehigh. But running a close second with me is the men's and women's basketball teams. I've been to quite a few Patriot League tournaments. When Lehigh beat American for their first tournament since 1987, I was there. When Lehigh's women team faced off against the UConn women at Gampel Pavillion, I was there. I even went to the ECC tournament at Towson when Lehigh made the finals and had a shot at the big dance that year.

Stabler can rock for this game, and Stabler can rock for a first-round playoff matchup on Wednesday. I know this. All people need to do is get up from in front of their TVs and get over to Stabler. Tickets are a bargain, and the ESPNU cameras will be there. For students, it's a free ride to Stabler to see a shot at the Big Dance. For alumni, at $5 a ticket it's the best show in town.

The Hill will still be open after the game. So will the Tally Ho. Just go! Get loud! Scream your head off at coach Willard! Make Stabler a real home-field advantage, not a mausoleum! Get on ESPNU! Get nuts!

Stabler holds more than 3,000 fans when Lafayette comes to town. I've got to believe that the folks in the Valley can manage at least 1,600 screaming fans and students at Stabler. And if you get that - the loud fans, the energy in the air, the rivalry between the two schools - there will be no better place to be tonight anywhere in the Lehigh Valley.

Just go!

Comments

lu65 said…
I wouldn't miss it. Let's meet atop the lower level of Section 4 at halftime.

Too bad Spring Break begins today. It'll hurt turnout in the Student Section. A crowd of 1600 would be quite an achievement, but doable.

If for no other reason, you'd think the fans would turn out to honor Tri-Captain, B.White on Senior Night. He's been fun to watch and will go all out (when doesn't he) tonight. Let's hope he and Carrington can neutralize Clifford (hold him to 15 points) and each give us 30 minutes, 8-10 points and the 7-9 boards. That should do it.

Popular posts from this blog

Remembering Lehigh's Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

(Photo Credits: Delaware Online)

When I heard the news Tubby Raymond, legendary Delaware head football coach, died last week at the age of 92, two immediate memories came rushing back to me.

One occurred on October 16th, 1999, when Tubby had made a complaint to the local paper or radio in the run-up to Kevin Higgins' Mountain Hawks beating his Blue Hens on Delaware's homecoming, 42-35.

I have no idea if the quote even actually happened, but my recollection is that Tubby said that Lehigh had "St. Bartholomew's" on their schedule, and hadn't played anybody.  It was a verbal jab that many Delaware fans took with them to the stands to heckle the Mountain Hawk fans that made the short trip to Newark.

Up until that point, I had watched a bunch of Lehigh football games over the years.  I experienced their rise in the 1990s.  I enjoyed wins, and championships, and playoff victories.

But never had I felt a win so viscerally vindicating than the one over Tubby Raymond&…

Lehigh Wrestling Gets Superstar Treatment at PPL Center. Lehigh Football Needs The Same At Murray Goodman.

"We knew it would be nice," Lehigh wrestling head coach Pat Santoro said. "But it was even better than we expected."

Pat was talking about the reception his Lehigh wrestling squad experienced at Allentown's PPL Center this weekend, when a sellout crowd over nearly 10,000 people came to watch No. 1 Penn State grapple with No. 5 Lehigh in a collegiate wrestling event.

It was, by all accounts, something special to behold. 

"I thought it was really cool and an exciting place to wrestle," said Penn State wrestler Nick Nevills. "These fans were really into it, a rowdy bunch. It's a lot more fun as an athlete to wrestle in an environment like this. I'd say it was one of the most exciting times I have had in my career."

The sense of spectacle at the PPL center, though, puts a spotlight on what more can be done at Lehigh itself to make their athletic contests into spectacles.  It requires money to be spent and energy to be expended.  But the…

Troy Pelletier Hasn't Stopped Outworking His Rivals On His Journey To Professional Football

Many Patriot League football fans remember the 153rd meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette, one that ended happily for the Mountain Hawks.

They might remember the MVP performance of QB Brad Mayes, or perhaps the halftime speech by OL Zach Duffy that seemed to spur the Mountain Hawks to victory.

Or perhaps they might remember the spectacular single play of Mayes rolling right and finding WR Gatlin Casey in the end zone to give the Mountain Hawks a lead they didn't relinquish.  It was an incredible play by Mayes, who returns this upcoming year for his senior season, and Casey, who, having exhausted his eligibility at Lehigh, will be playing one more year at Middle Tennessee State.

As great as those individual moments are, though, they are not my biggest takeaway of that game.

Too many Lehigh people forget that Lehigh was down 31-21 at half, and that victory was no sure thing.  And they sometimes forget that so much of that victory came from the grinding of WR Troy Pelletier, deliver…