The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

March 15, 2011

Bill Bowman's college basketball column: Bison writing a new legacy

Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it always strikes me. Every time the National Anthem plays at Sojka Pavilion, the Bucknell players line up shoulder to shoulder and look at Old Glory.

But every single time I do it, my eyes inevitably fade to the left a bit, where the orange and blue banners next to the star-spangled banner proudly boast of Bucknell's stellar not-so-distant past.

Can't believe those banners were put there on accident. If I look at them every game, you know the players and the coaches probably do to.

And that's some burden to bear. They are daily reminders that just a few short years ago Bucknell was winning titles, making and winning games in the NCAA tournament and finishing the season ranked in the top 25.

It's some legacy to live up to, but it is what takes programs from good to great. That's why you see teams wear T-shirts that read "Tradition Never Graduates," because places like Duke and UCLA and Kansas fight every year to uphold what those who came before them did.

At a place like Bucknell, what the teams in 2005 and 2006 did was epic, once-in-a-lifetime kind of stuff. No other teams in the 20-year history of the Patriot League have ever won a game in the NCAA tournament, only Pat Flannery's bunch who stunned Kansas and Arkansas in consecutive Marches. In 20 years, they are still going to talk about it.

Now, with the 2011 version of the Bison set for their own March Madness run, a new herd has a chance to make a name for itself.

Just like a win over Kansas made Kevin Bettencourt, Charles Lee and Chris McNaughton household names in this region, a win over Connecticut on Thursday night in Washington, D.C., would make the names Darryl Shazier, Mike Muscala and Bryson Johnson resonate for decades to come as well.

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