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.