Patriot League Standings
Lehigh 0-0 11-4
American 0-0 9-6
Bucknell 0-0 9-6
Holy Cross 0-0 6-7
Army 0-0 6-8
Colgate 0-0 5-8
Lafayette 0-0 5-8
Navy 0-0 3-11
KEY CONFERENCE GAMES TO WATCH:
Lehigh vs. American
Potential league title preview?
Holy Cross vs. Navy
J.J. Avila versus Devin Brown in a clash of two exciting scorers.
Colgate vs. Bucknell
The Raiders have struggled recently, but overall have been better than expected. Can they upset the defending champs?
Lafayette vs. Bucknell
A rematch from last year's title game.
Lehigh vs. Bucknell
A big test for both teams as they battle for pole position at the top of the conference standings.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
--With scoring a major issue for the Eagles this season, a key factor is the play of senior G Troy Brewer, the team's second-leading scorer after Player of the Year candidate Charles Hinkle. Brewer's value was evident in the two pre-break games he missed with a toe injury and in his return against Mount St. Mary's on Dec. 29, when he posted a team-high 15 in the Eagles' 49-42 win.
--Senior F Charles Hinkle scored seven points and chipped in five boards and junior G Daniel Munoz scored a team-high three assists with five points.
--In a rebuilding year, the Black Knights are starting to build a core of freshmen that could pay huge dividends in the next couple of years. Against St. Francis (N.Y.), freshman G Milton Washington (10 points) joined Mo Williams as the only two Army freshmen to post consecutive double-digit scoring games this season.
--Freshman G Maxwell Lenox continues to be a strong contender for Rookie of the Year honors; Lenox came off the bench and handed out a career-high eight assists without committing a turnover in 21 minutes of action in the St. Francis game.
--In trying to defend his Player of the Year award from the 2011-12 season, junior F-C Mike Muscala has had a bumpy first half, but is coming alive in January. His 18-point, 13-rebound effort against Cornell on Dec. 31 was classic Muscala, with solid all-around play from the big man.
--Depth continues to be an advantage for Bucknell. When the team's second best rebounder Joe Willman landed into foul trouble against Cornell, junior F Brian Fitzpatrick stepped up with nine boards of his own to go along with seven points.
--Senior Mike Venezia continues to bring the scoring touch for the Raiders, leading the charge with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor (3-of-4 from beyond the arc) against New Hampshire on Dec. 31, and another 15 to lead all Colgate scorers against Quinnipiac on Dec. 28.
--Nick Pascale is rightly considered the Raiders' most dominant player on the boards, but Brandon James could become his equal by season's end. The junior F chipped in seven rebounds against New Hampshire.
--Sophomore F Dave Dudzinski is starting to remind Crusaders' alum of graduated forward Andrew Keister. Dudzinski has been a terrific all-around big man for Holy Cross this season, and chipped in 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots, and a pair of key free throws down the stretch in the Dec. 31 win over Dartmouth.
--Depth has been an issue for Milan Brown's team, but he may have found a key weapon off his bench in junior G Jordan Stevens. Stevens recorded double-digit points in back-to-back games, with 16 points against San Francisco back on Dec.22 and 11 against Dartmouth on Dec. 31.
--Junior G Tony Johnson continues to rehab from a back injury and has yet to play a full game in the 2011-12 season. Johnson recently began individual workouts and strengthening activities and could be ready come conference play.
--In Johnson's stead, senior G Rob Delaney has stepped up big for the Leopards. Delaney dished out 11 assists against Monmouth on Dec. 28 and a nine-point, six assists performance against Columbia on Dec. 30.
--With Lehigh's Dec. 31 win over Bryant, the Mountain Hawks swept the season series against the Northeast Conference, going 5-0 with other wins against Fairleigh Dickinson, Quinnipiac, Saint Francis (Pa.), and Wagner.
--Junior G C.J. McCollum has a tendency to heat up as the calendar turns and is right on schedule with a 34-point explosion against Bryant on Dec. 31. McCollum scored 20 of his points in the first half.
--Senior G Jordan Sugars has been mired in a shooting funk in recent games, and has struggled adapting to a new coach, but he looks to be snapping out of it. Sugars matched a season-high 21 points with a Dec. 30 loss to Mercer.
--Navy ended 2011 on a six-game losing skid, but could be an interesting dark horse in the second half, given the continued excellence of sophomore J.J. Avila and a decent rebounding performance as a team.