Bucknell won the first Orange Bowl. It is also the alma mater of baseball pitcher Christy Mathewson who requested burial in a cemetery adjoining Bucknell's campus.
In 2005, the men's basketball team went to the NCAA men's basketball tournament and became the first Patriot League team to win an NCAA tournament game, in an upset of Kansas. The victory followed a year that included wins over #9 Pittsburgh and Saint Joseph's. They lost to Wisconsin in the following round, but received the honor of "Best Upset" at the 2005 ESPY Awards. In 2006, the Bison continued their success with high-profile victories at Syracuse, then ranked 19th, DePaul, and Saint Joseph's, a sequence that saw the Bison nearly enter the Associated Press's top-25 rankings. However, those wins were followed by high-profile losses against Villanova, then ranked fourth in the nation, and at Duke, then ranked first. Patriot League play began after the Duke loss, and the Bison did not lose a league game in 2006. The team was ranked 24th in the nation in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today college basketball polls for the week of February 13. This was the Bucknell program's first national ranking, and the first time since the league's creation in 1990 that any Patriot League men's basketball team has been ranked. The team was seeded ninth in the Oakland bracket for the 2006 NCAA tournament, and defeated the Arkansas in the first round. The Bison were defeated by Memphis in the second round, losing by a score of 72–56. They finished the regular season ranked 25th in the ESPN poll. Entering the 2006–2007 season, the Bison had scheduled a number of high-profile games, including a season opener against Wake Forest. The schedule also included a match-up against George Mason, a team that had made the 2006 Final Four. In a tight game, the Bison were defeated by Wake Forest 86–83 in overtime. They did, however, go on to defeat George Mason. Bucknell made it to the 2007 Patriot League Championship Game where they faced Holy Cross. The Bison lost by a score of 66–74.
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