By William Bowman
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG -- Mike Muscala, Bucknell's star center, famously committed to Bucknell the first day he stepped foot on campus. As a reward, he is heading home.
Dave Paulsen's Bison, preseason favorites in the Patriot League with four returning starters from last year's 25-win NCAA tournament team, open the season Friday and they will do so in Muscala's backyard. The Bison kick off a brutal non-conference schedule with a road trip to Minneapolis to take on Minnesota, a campus that is literally 10 minutes from Muscala's hometown of Roseville.
It is a common practice in the college basketball world for coaches to try to schedule a game as close as they can to home for a player who goes to school a long way from his hometown.
"If we can we will try to go, for our guys who are from out of town; we will try to get as close as we can to their home," said Paulsen, who is entering his fourth season in Lewisburg. "Last year we went to Marquette because it was couple of hour from Ben Brackney. We tried like crazy to get Vanderbilt on the schedule last year, which was close as we could get to G.W. Boon's hometown, we just couldn't get it done.
"If the guys coming from a long way away, we try to get there once in four years," said Paulsen.
Muscala, a 6-foot-11 center, averaged 24 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks a game as a senior at Roseville and was a finalist for Minnesota's Mr. Basketball honor. He returns home where he will get to play in front of friends and family, who have been trying to round up as many tickets as they can for Friday's 7 p.m. tip