Thursday, February 25, 2010
Soaring to New Heights
You may be wondering what this picture is to the left. It is a representation of years of struggle, hard work and commitment. This is a picture of Mr. Burns in his very rarely used beanie bag/TV room. G.A. Halstead and I have been trying to find evidence of this room's existence since way back when we were still at university. Today, after much deliberation, research and great mental anguish we have found what we had believed in all along. In a similar manner, the Lehigh men's hoops team, whom I also believed in all along, has taken home a share of the Patriot League regular season title. After years of mixed results since that magical year in 03-04, the Hawks hard work has paid off. May they enjoy their title in grand fashion sitting in opulent bean bag chairs and watching big screen TVs.
With a resounding 81-59 win over Bucknell on Wednesday, Lehigh announced their return to the dominance in the Patriot League. I got a message from former Bethlehem resident and Lehigh basketball ambassador Pat Lyons about the news, despite the fact that I have the Lehigh basketball team as one "my teams" on ESPN.com so I get the scores automatically. Patrick, who was more famous for a chant he started at a Lehigh basketball game than for his fanaticism for the team when he was a student, demanded a blog post. Like Lt. Dan Taylor, I am a man of my word.
As you all know, the Patriot League regular season title has no bearing on who goes into the NCAA tournament except for seeding in the all important Patriot League Tournament. I like Lehigh's chances going into the Patriot League tournament, but they are going to improve on defense if they expect to get to the big dance this year. One thing in Lehigh's favor is their balanced offensive attack. While C.J. McCollum (who recently set the Patriot League scoring record for a freshman) is no doubt the scoring threat at over 18 points a game, the Hawks also have guys like Michael "Mojo" Ojo, Gabe "Deez" Knutson, Zahir "Don't Call Me Malcolm" Carrington and Marquis "Kids in the" Hall who can fill up the bucket if need be. This offensive attack is much more powerful than the 03-04 team who basically just relied on Austen Rowland for all their scoring. That said, the Hawks defense could use some work.
As it usually is with high scoring offenses, the defense is suspect. Lehigh's defense gives up 71.4 points per game and needs their offense to be firing on all cylinders to keep up. In two losses to Navy, Lehigh was torched by Midshipmen guard Chris Harris for an average of 35 points a game. Lehigh has got to put the clamps down on shooters if they expect to get to that play in game come March.
Though Mr. Lyons seems to think that Lehigh needs Navy to be upset by someone else in order for Lehigh to win the tournament, I know that in his heart he believes that they can take down the Midshipmen. If the Hawks can tune up the defense a little bit, and C.J. McCollum can keep up his hot hand, the Hawks can beat anyone in the Patriot League. If they do go on to win the Patriot League tournament, I expect total pandemonium.
Men, I'll make it quite simple. If Lehigh makes the tournament, we must celebrate. Freshmen year was different; some of us were pledging, some of us had no cars, some of us had no licenses. We couldn't feasibly go to the game, or really celebrate it. This time, it is well within our means to either get to this game or at least to throw some sort of a Lehigh hoops bash. I just hope the game is on the weekend. Secondly, though I joked about the play in game before I am very disappointed at the disrespect Lehigh got our freshmen year. It seems as if every year since then, the Patriot League has been given at the very least a 15 seed. Often times Holy Cross and Bucknell have even been seeded higher than that. Why the hell did we get shafted into the obscurity of the play-in game? This year, I hope things will be different. If not, we post a list of demands on Alice Gast's door...and throw a goat head on her front steps. Lehigh can clinch the Patriot League title outright on Saturday with a win against Holy Cross, alma mater of the Schellinator, and the Patriot League tourney starts in early March. Let's get our team spirit up and support the Hawks bid to go dancing.