"Big Dance" Interviews: Bucknell Postseason Teleconference

March 15th, 2011
Yesterday CHN writer Jon Teitel took part in the postseason teleconference for the Patriot League champion Bucknell Bison. The Bison lost just one league game during the regular season, and big man Mike Muscala was named Patriot League Player of the Year. Although experienced, Bucknell last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2006.

Center Mike Muscala

On his two buzzer-beaters: "Both of the buzzer beaters I made in January (against Richmond and Holy Cross) were due to great help from my teammates who gave me great screens and passes. I would not call myself a "clutch" player, as I have missed some free throws this year."

On the NCAA Tournament: "I am not sure how much pressure there will be in the NCAA Tournament until I step onto the court, but I am excited to be going to D.C. We all trust in each other and know that we need to play together in order to win."

On Bucknell's play of late: "I do think that we are one of the hottest teams in the country (won 23 of their last 25 games), but the loss to Army in January helped us get re-focused so I am excited to see what we can do this week. Our defense has helped us win a lot of games this year."

On their preseason expectations: "Our expectations this year were to win a conference championship, which we were able to achieve."

On what he looks to do on the floor: "I just try to do the little things: holding seals in the post, not let the ball get stolen, etc. I just take what the defense gives me and try to play good defense as well myself."

On Bucknell's offense: "We know we have a ton of options on offense even if we have different game plans for each game."

On how they'll handle the experience: "We will savor every minute of it because it is a dream come true, but we are also here to win games."

Head coach Dave Paulsen

On his team: "We are really excited to represent Bucknell and the Patriot League. I have never had a more coachable group in my 17 years as a coach than this group. We were ecstatic when they announced our name on the selection show...until we saw that we would be playing Connecticut! We have a team that will not beat itself and is hard to score on. We also have a strong assist-to-turnover ratio and are among the nation's leaders in free throw percentage."

On Connecticut: "When I look at the tapes of Connecticut I get nightmares! With travel, logistics, tickets and media I have not had a lot of time to watch the Huskies, but they are playing at a really high level and have one of the best players in the country in Kemba Walker."

On what his experience at Williams College taught him: "After winning the Division II national title in 2003 at Williams, the thing I learned about winning postseason games is that you have to recruit good players."

On what he and his staff look to emphasize: "We continue to stress to our guys that you have to take your defensive intensity and focus up a notch while also relaxing on the offensive end, which is a lot easier said than done."

On his experience with Michigan in the 1990 NCAA Tournament: "I remember Jeff Fryer making a ton of threes for LMU when they beat our Michigan team in the 1990 tourney (149-115). It was an absolute annihilation.