Perhaps the most exciting time of the year for basketball fans is just days away as the calendar will soon flip to March Madness beginning this weekend when Lehigh travels to Upper Marlboro, Maryland for the Patriot League Tournament at the Show Place Arena. Lehigh and the seven other Patriot League teams will all be competing for that coveted NCAA Tournament bid that is awarded to the tournament champion.
A rather dismal regular season has left the Mountain Hawks with the number eight seed in the tournament but the single elimination affair has been a successful place for Lehigh in recent years. The Brown and White have won their first round game in each of the last three years and with a win on Saturday, Lehigh will be the only team to advance to the semifinals each of the last four years.
The Mountain Hawks do not have an easy task in the first round however as they will take on American, the Patriot League regular season champion and the number one seed. Lehigh matches up well with American despite losing both meetings during the regular season. The Eagles defeated Lehigh by a total of just nine points in the two contests and the Mountain Hawks had American on the ropes in the latter game, but couldn’t hold on losing by three points, 70-67 at Bender Arena.
Matt Logie, a potential All-League selection, leads the Mountain Hawks averaging 15.6 points per game. Logie has been on fire the second half of the season scoring at nearly a 20 point clip per game and finished the season as the top scorer in league contests with 17.3 ppg. He was a second team All-League selection a year ago and figures to be a first or second team selection this season.
Seniors Scott Taylor and Bobby Mbom have been playing well as of late and will be key factors in the match-up against American. Taylor is second on the team in scoring and is the team’s leading rebounder. Mbom has scored in double figures in three consecutive games and will need to be a factor inside for Lehigh to be successful.
Freshman Eric Heil figures to be an All-Rookie selection and a candidate for Rookie of the Year. He leads the league in blocked shots with 33 and is a 34.9% three point shooter as a 6-8 forward.
American brings a wealth of talent to the tournament including arguably the best player in the league, Patrick Doctor. Doctor averaged 15.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in Patriot League play and is at times unstoppable down low. His versatility as an outside shooter and inside player presents a number of problems. Doctor averaged 22.5 points per game against the Mountain Hawks this season.
Glenn Stokes is American’s premier outside shooter. Stokes shot 39.3% from behind the arc this season and 44.1% in league play. He scored ten points against Lehigh the last time the two teams met.
Should Lehigh upset American in the first round, the Mountain Hawks would play the winner of the Colgate Lafayette game on Sunday at 5:00. The game is scheduled to be televised on WFMZ Channel 69 as part of the Patriot League television package.
The Lehigh vs. American game can be heard live in the Lehigh Valley on 1470 AM WKAP with Matt Kerr and Greg Falkenbach. Live audio can also be heard worldwide on the Internet via the Lehigh website.