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NCAA Tournament Preview: Lehigh Mountain Hawks

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The Basics

  • Record: 26-7 (11-3 Patriot League)
  • Best Wins: Bucknell twice (?)
  • Worst Losses: Cornell, Holy Cross, American
  • Admirable Losses: St. John's, Iowa State, Michigan State

Statistically Speaking (national ranking)

  • The good: 16.8 Off. TO% (16th), 68.6 Adj. tempo (58th), 77.4 FT% (4th)
  • The bad: 10.4 Off. Block% (264th), 0-2 vs. the RPI top 75, Non-con schedule (324th)
  • The interesting: Lehigh is one of the more balanced mid-majors you'll find, ranking 79th nationally in offensive efficiency and 102nd at the other end. Those two numbers working in tandem are underrated for a basketball team that might wind up with a No. 15 seed, and not even Creighton, Alabama, Louisville, or Florida can make a claim that they own a top-100 rank on both sides of the ball.
What to Expect

Another David vs. Goliath matchup. The Mountain Hawks drew No. 1 Kansas two years ago as a 16-seed in the dance, and turned in an admirable performance (90-74 loss) in a game where blowouts are usually the norm. Leading scorer and Mr. Do-it-all C.J. McCollum was still only a freshman back then, and has grown significantly as a player over the last two seasons. If Lehigh is seen hanging with some unsuspecting No. 2 or No. 1 seed next week, it's likely McCollum is the reason for it. Actually finding a way to pull off that upset is something else entirely, but this team certainly has the ingredients (low TO%, high FT%, star scorer) to throw another scare into a tourney favorite if things fall into place.