The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Bill Bowman

January 9, 2012

Bucknell men tip off Patriot League play

LEWISBURG - As the Bucknell men prepare to open defense of their Patriot League basketball title this afternoon at Army, Bison coach Dave Paulsen feels like his squad accomplished a lot in a 16-game exhibition season. Then again, he also still has plenty of concerns heading into today's trip to West Point.

Despite the league's toughest schedule to date -- RPIrating.com has BU playing the 101st toughest out of 344 Division I teams -- the Bison enter today's Patriot League opener against the Black Knights with 10 wins, the most in program history by the start of conference play. Bucknell (10-6) has already played seven opponents that were in last year's NCAA tournament, and its losses are to six teams with at least 10 wins apiece.

"At the beginning of the year, with the schedule we played, if you would have told me we would have 10 wins right now, I would have signed up for it in a heartbeat," said Paulsen. "We've really seen more things than we've ever seen, which is great. We've also found a way to win some games when we didn't play great."

But ... (Always a 'but')

Paulsen also has worries. Bucknell has been inconsistent of late, starting slow before playing better as games have worn on. The Bison have trailed at the half in each of their last three games and managed to win two of them. And while Bucknell is allowing a half-point less a game this year (63.9 to 63.4) than last year, the coach sees issues on defense as well.

"We're not where I'd like to be in terms of consistency at the offensive or defensive end," said Paulsen. "Clearly, we haven't peaked, which is a good thing, but there are definitely some things that need corrected."

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Bill Bowman
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