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Men's Basketball: Revenge On Their Minds?

It's a ticket to the Big Dance. And every Patriot League team has a shot at keeping their hopes alive as the first round of the Patriot League conference tournament kicks off tonight.

#4 Lehigh will be hosting #5 Army, and if you're in the Lehigh Valley you can catch the game on Service Electric 2 or on AM 1230/1320 ESPN Radio. If you're out of the area, you can catch the game on Lehigh Broadcast or on Patriot League All-Access for a small fee.

For Lehigh's men's basketball team, it may as well be a return to the "scene of the crime".

Last year, Lehigh was robbed in Stabler in the first round against - you guessed it - Army.

Freshman Josh Miller made a running bank shot after the buzzer sounded (as video from Lehigh's Web site, lehighsports.com, showed) that lifted Army to a 47-46 win over Lehigh in the Patriot League tournament quarterfinals at Stabler Arena. Lehigh coach Billy Taylor, more animated than ever, said he planned to appeal.

''We have to fight the fight because it was clearly after the light went off, so we are going to continue to fight until they say we can't anymore, and then we'll fight some more,'' Taylor said.

...

It was the only Lehigh home game this year against a Patriot League opponent that Service Electric TV2 did not broadcast. Therefore, officials Jeff Smith, Jeff Bryant and Jack Sweeney did not have television video to review.

But Lehigh officials were willing to let them review their online video.

''There was at a courtside monitor at the table,'' Taylor said. ''The officials did not review it. They left the court.''

This year there will be no such controversy - after all, SE2 is picking up the game and will have a video replay available if necessary. But the resulting brouhaha left a bad taste in everyone's mouths, and you can bet it's very clear in the mind of senior F Bryan White and he will be reminding everyone about the incident before the game.

You can also bet that White will be a little bit pumped up that he didn't make the all-Patriot League team despite the fact he led the league in rebounding with 8.1 boards per game. Out of nineteen "slots of honor", an incredible seventeen were taken up by guards (including second-team all-Patriot sophomore G Marquis Hall and freshman of the year in freshman G Rob Keefer). In fact, the entire second-team all-Patriot Team was taken up by six guards... You're trying to tell me that Navy G Greg Sprink's teammate in the backcourt was more valuable than White this year?

Both Lehigh and Army are entering the tournament reversing their late-season slides with two big wins - both teams beat Bucknell, while Army beat Lafayette and Lehigh disposed of Holy Cross. Army has struggled to put the ball in the basket despite the presence of senior G Jarell Brown (18.5 PPG): in their last 15 games they scored more than 60 points only 4 times. They've won a fair number of games, though, with defense: they won six games during that stretch, including a sweep of Bucknell and a win over Navy.

Lehigh's key to the game will be getting just one of their young guards to have a great game. Hall almost singlehandedly took over in the must-win last Friday against Holy Cross, but either if Hall, Keefer, or junior G Matt Szalachowski can emerge with good scoring punch tonight, I like our chances. Keeping out of foul trouble underneath, with White or sophomore F Zahir Carrington, will also be crucial.

The winner of this game will either be travelling to Washington, DC to take on American - or entertaining Holy Cross once again. If there were ever a year where the #1 seed needs to be extra-vigilant, it's this year of parity in the Patriot League.

The madness starts tonight for Patriot League fans. And I can't wait.

Comments

LU 65 said…
See you at halftime tonight, Chuck. Walkway splitting Section 4.

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