As a Gannon fan, if I could have conceived the perfect scenario at this point in the season, I couldn't do much better than the spot the Knights in now -- especially compared to when they participated in the GLIAC/Great Lakes Region:
- The opportunity to play local rivals Edinboro and Mercyhurst 5 times and beat them every game, including in a home playoff game in front of an enthusiastic near-capacity crowd.
- A chance to play an old rival (Cheyney State) in the conference semifinals at home.
- An opportunity to see a few away games -- and still sleep in my own bed that evening.
- One of the best win-loss records in school history. To say your team is 25-3 is kind of stunning. The max number of games Gannon will lose this year is 5. My favorite baseball team, the Pirates, will lose that many games in one homestand.
- And Gannon has achieved that glossy mark with no knuckleheads on the roster. Can you recall a moment when you were embarrassed by the team's performance? A lack of hustle? A showboating player? An emotional outburst at an official? John Reilly has made sure that this team wins with class.
- A #1 ranking in the region with just two games left to play.
- PSAC West champs against a host of teams (IUP, Slippery Rock, Edinboro) that were anything but pushovers.
- A realistic chance to host the NCAA tournament at the Hammermill Center. It feels like the "good old days" again. Though it makes me feel not so good that the late 1980's and early 90's, when I attended high school and college, can now be classified as "old."
For years many GU fans have said to me things like "I miss our old rivals", "I miss home playoff games", and "I miss seeing them play on the road." Now it's time to say to coach Reilly and whoever orchestrated Gannon's move to the PSAC this year a giant THANK YOU.
* Did you see the new regional rankings? 1-Gannon, 2-Kutztown, 3-Va. Union, 4-Johnson C. Smith, 5-West Va. State. With the CIAA tourney over, I don't see anybody leapfrogging Union for the chance to host the regionals. Basically, this is Gannon's or Kutztown's to win. I figure if both teams win Friday, Saturday's game isn't just for the PSAC crown, it's for the right to host the regionals. If neither GU or KU win the PSAC, then I think it's a total crapshoot among GU, KU, and VUU who hosts. Because I've been so bad at predicting the regional rankings this year, the only prediction I will make is that Mercyhurst will not host the regionals this year.
* Interesting stat from Tuesday's Edinboro/Gannon game. It was unofficially square root day -- 3/3/09. In other words, the month muliplied by the day = the year (3x3=9). On that day late in the game, the Knights led the Scots 81-64. In other words Gannon had 9 squared while Edinboro had 8 squared. Thanks to my brother Rob for catching that one.
* Sorry it took me so long to post after the game. Everyone in my family is sick, and my role as a husband and father (plus as a Jameson Publishing employee) supersedes my role as a blogger.