Greensboro, NC (Sports Network) - The 15th-seeded Lehigh Mountain Hawks will
try to take down the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils in a South Regional
matchup in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Lehigh earned an automatic bid to the Big Dance by taking down a very talented
Bucknell Bison team in the Patriot League Tournament title game. The Mountain
Hawks have built up a lot of momentum and are riding an eight-game win streak.
Coach Brett Reed has gotten the most out of his team this season, as it set a
program record with 26 wins. What might be even more impressive is none of
Lehigh's losses have been by more than nine points, despite squaring off with
top-notch programs such as Michigan State, Iowa State and St. John's. The
Mountain Hawks led the Patriot in scoring offense with an average of 76.2 ppg
while holding their opponents to 65.1 ppg. Lehigh is very good at defending
the three-point arc, which will be crucial against the trigger-happy Blue
Duke comes in with the highest winning percentage of any program in NCAA
Tournament action. The Blue Devils have won 14 of their last 15 opening games
in the tourney as well. Coach Mike Krzyzewski is also the NCAA's all-time
winningest coach in the NCAA Tournament. Krzyzewski led his Blue Devils to a
27-6 overall record and a second-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference
this season, and will be looking to add his fifth NCAA Championship trophy to
his collection. Duke is very similar to Lehigh as it has a strong offensive
attack that averages 77.5 ppg. Duke relies heavily on three-point shooting for
its offensive production.
This will be the fifth meeting between Duke and Lehigh, and the Blue Devils
have won all four previous encounters. The most recent meeting occurred on
Dec. 2, 1996.
Despite being a mid-major program, the Mountain Hawks have one of the best
guards in the nation in C.J. McCollum. The junior earned his second Patriot
League Player of the Year award this season after finishing fifth in the
country in scoring with an average of 21.2 ppg, while also leading Lehigh in
rebounds and steals. Junior forward Game Knutson is the team's second option
as he is posting 12.1 points and 5.5 caroms per contest. Mackey McKnight
directs the offense and has handed out 4.3 assists per game over his last 20
bouts, while Holden Greiner provides a spark off the bench.
McCollum will have his hands full as he faces the Blue Devils' dynamic
backcourt duo of Seth Curry and Austin Rivers. Curry, like his older brother
Stephen, is a lights-out shooter with the ability to catch fire at any time.
Rivers is a crafty, shoot-first point guard. Mason Plumlee provides support
from the forward position with a team-high 11 double-doubles on the year.
Forward Ryan Kelly, who is the team's third-leading scorer, missed the ACC
Tournament with a right foot sprain. His return is expected, but there is no
promise he will be 100 percent and in the flow of things right away.
The Sports Network