Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shaping up Gannon's playoff chances

If I was in decent shape, I'd volunteer to play in this Saturday's Gannon/Mercyhurst alumni basketball game. But I ran up-and-down the court only 8 times yesterday at the new LECOM Fitness Center, and today my back feels like Geoff Husted jumped on it for an hour. Gannon played much more (and much harder) than me yesterday, earning a 74-58 win at Clarion and a spot in the PSAC West playoffs. I don't know if that playoff berth is official, but I find it hard to believe that GU (8-2) could lose its final 4 PSAC games and Cal (4-6) win its final 4, especially after the Vulcans home loss yesterday to pitiful Lock Haven.

The Knights are also near-certain to earn an NCAA berth at this point. I think the only scenarios that would cause them not to get a bid would be losing their all or 5 of their remaining 6 games (5 regular season plus the PSAC first round), falling to 17-8 or 18-7 in the region. Johnson C. Smith, #7 in last week's rankings, already has 7 in-region losses with two more regular season games and the brutal CIAA Tournament looming. And you know a few teams in the Atlantic Region top 10 are going to lose 3 more games the rest of this season, due to head-to-head matchups and league tournaments.

My take on Gannon's hopes of hosting the Atlantic Regional are that it would be a cherry on top of the gravy on the cake, to mix 3 cliches, but I'm not expecting it. I'd like them to win every game, of course, but the bottom line is you're in great shape if you (1) make the NCAA tourney and (2) play well heading in. When Gannon was in the Great Lakes Region, I resigned myself to the fact that they would never host regionals as long as the GLIAC remained competitive and Kentucky Wesleyan remained oblivious to NCAA rules.

So, if Gannon would host the NCAAs this year or ever, that would surpass my expectations. I think I'd roll in the snow in jubilation. But I'm prepared for the alternative. Philippi, WV, home of the Alderson-Broaddus Battlers, is 241 miles south of Erie. The mid-March forecast calls for temps in the mid-50s ... and no snow.


  1. Jim: I find it hard to believe that if we keep winning that Alderson Broaddus could outbid Gannon for the NCAA region. Philippi WV doesnot even have a motel. The closes place to stay is Clarksburg WV 29 miles away.

  2. Bob, if we keep winning, then yes I don't see A-B beating us out for the top spot. However, we still have to play Edinboro, Indiana and Mercyhurst (and don't forget Lake Erie and Lock Haven.. should be cake games, but I thought Slippery Rock should be too). If we lose one of those 3 games and A-B wins out, we're put in a tough position. Also, you have to consider the league tournaments. If A-B wins theirs and we don't, that also could put us in a tough position.

  3. Everyone seems to forget that Virginia Union is at #2. That would be the worse scenerio if VU hosts; there is no way that is an easy day trip from Erie.

    Wasn't VU the team that Juan Rankin beat with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the 1991 Porreco Cup? I was young at the time but I certainly recall the jubilation. And if memory serves me correct they were the defending national champs. Those were the days when the Porreco Cup opponents put up a real fight, not like Caldwell or Roberts Wesleyan...

  4. Gumby: First, great name. Second, you are correct that Juan Rankin's three at the buzzer beat VUU 54-51 in the Porreco Cup. But they were not the defending national champs; they were the eventual national champions, winning the DII title three months later. Those were also the pre-GLIAC days (GU was an independent), so the regular season games included lightweights like Pitt-Bradford, Daemen, Allegheny, Alvernia (twice), Columbia Union, and District of Columbia. I scored 10 points that year, so you know parts of the schedule had to be pretty weak.

    4Ever makes a good point, and another Gannon fan e-mailed me with a similar message. He said, "This region has three different leagues involved, each of which sends a tournament champion directly into the field. What happens if you have three teams currently off the radar winning the league tournaments along with a few losses could really upset the apple cart." That's true. So, Gannon should aim to be in the top 5 in the rankings just in case a team out of nowhere (can you say "Slippery Rock"?) crashes the party.

    The e-mailer also noted that "I don't believe there is a bidding process any more and I also don't think that the amount of accomodations have much to do with hosting anymore. Pretty much, if you are the #1 team in the region, you will host regardless of local accomodations or not."

  5. The last point is a huge change from Gannons hosting in four out of five years. Actually, in today's criteria, GU never would have hosted the regional; it never has won a region in its (at least recent) history.

    The only exception would be Cheyney in 1986. I believe that there is some minimal criteria, but the only regional where the #1 has not hosted is the South Atlantic regional which has had a predetermined site on occasion.

  6. Is the IUP game at 3 or 7:30? Gannon website says 3 and the card says 7:30.

  7. I am going to say it's 3pm, but I do not for sure now that you've said the card says 730pm. But online it says 730pm, in the email they sent out about the "Pink Game" it says 1 and 3pm, and int he pre-game notes it says 1 and 3pm. Also, on the radio they said the game Saturday is 1 and 3pm.

    I'm going to call Gannon tomorrow to see what they say.

  8. mistype in first post.... online it says 3pm... everything says 3pm, besides the card...

  9. Last week the NCAA announced a change to their championship site procedure.

    INDIANAPOLIS-The NCAA has announced a change in its format for all NCAA, Division II post-season tournaments, including basketball, effective immediately.
    If all seven non-host schools would be required to fly to the host site (for example to Hawaii or Alaska), the eight-team regionals would be broken down into two four-team tournaments at separate sites.
    The basketball tournaments would be held on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. The two winners would then advance to the regional championship game on Tuesday, March 17 at the site of the highest remaining seed.

  10. This Saturday's game against IUP was moved to 3PM to accommodate the Pink Zone promotion. But that's all I'm going to say about that game for now; I don't want to overlook Edinboro. We have to take it one game at a time ...

  11. I just checked the regional rankings and BYU-Hawaii looks to be in good shape to host the West Regional. The National Cash Acquisition Association looked ran the numbers and made a $$ saving rule regarding regional hosting.