Pat Flannery and Ralph Willard were the two reasons for the best rivalry in the 14 years I've covered the Patriot League.
The two head coaches didn't care for each other much. Their in-game stares at one another and shouting matches made for great theater and copy.
But, above all else, they were excellent coaches who raised the Bucknell and Holy Cross programs, respectively, to the top of the league the previous decade.
I could organize a team from the two rosters during the 2004-07 seasons and feel confident that those players would dominate any other assembly of players from the remaining programs in league history… until now.
The league has a new rivalry. Actually, it's more of a renewal of an old one.
Bucknell and Lehigh are the class of the loop these days.
Today's matchup at 6 p.m. in Lewisburg is the most anticipated league game since, well, last season's championship game.
Some of the luster may be lost to those not affiliated with those teams or the national media folks who peek their noses in from time to time because Lehigh's C.J. McCollum is out with a broken foot.
But Sojka Pavilion will have a distinct March feel to it.
"It's definitely going to be very intense, very high-level play on Wednesday," Bucknell junior Cameron Ayers said. "It's in all of our minds of the guys coming back, of what happened in last year's championship game.
"We definitely want some revenge."
Of what I know, Brett Reed and Dave Paulsen don't have any problems with one another. However, there no doubt is a negative vibe between the players.
McCollum and Bucknell's Mike Muscala, two of the best players to ever suit up in this league, are barely casual acquaintances. They certainly are not friends.
They don't detest one another, but they don't feel the need to be chummy with a rival player, certainly not one trying to stop the other from winning a league title and making another appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The statistics McCollum and Muscala have racked up during their four-year careers are ridiculous, but they always have been about one thing: The bling. And that comes only with winning.
McCollum has two Patriot League titles to Muscala's one.
Both will get shots at NBA careers, but for now it's all about more bling.
Both teams have taken care of business leading up to the first of what many expect to be three meetings this season. Lehigh is 13-4, 4-0 since McCollum was injured in the first half of the Jan. 5 loss at VCU. Bucknell is 16-3, one win away from matching the best 20-game start in program history.