Sunday, June 13, 2010

Miller Classic, Porreco Cup Caught In The Crossover Crossfire

The Erie Times today announced that the PSAC will play a full West-East crossover schedule in men's and women's basketball starting next season (2011-12). Currently, Gannon faces every West opponent twice and just 4 East teams. In the future, Gannon will continue to play every West opponent home-and-home plus they'll play each of the PSAC's 8 East clubs once. (Those crossover games still won't count in the conference standings, though.) If you're keeping score at home, 14 West games plus 8 East games equals a whopping 22 conference contests. Add that to the NCAA's reduction of regular season games from 27 to only 26 for all Division II schools, and that leaves just four independent contests for the Knights.

So what does that mean for the Gary Miller Classic and the Porreco Cup? Either way it's not good news. I'm thinking GU is going to have to drop at least one (if not both) of the annual events. Even if one of them survives, look for a dubious first night matchup featuring Penn State Greater Allegheny vs. Daemen in the opener and Gannon vs. D'Youville in the nightcap. D'You won't need to wait in a ticket line for that doubleheader.

And you couldn't blame Gannon for padding their schedule in that fashion. If all but 4 of their games will be against legitimate, in-region DII clubs, they're going to need those breathers on their schedule.

Last year's non-PSAC games featured Urbana twice, Lake Erie twice, Northern Kentucky, Glenville State, Daemen, Seton Hill, and Taylor. Next fall, you'll wipe one of those games off the slate completely (thanks NCAA -- all the athletes now completely have Balance In Life) and then pick four others and replace them with Cheyney, West Chester, Shippensburg, and Millersville. Not a bad trade from a quality-of-opponent perspective.

But back to the tournaments. Remember when Juan Rankin, in front of a roaring Audi throng, hit a three at the buzzer to capture the 1989 Porreco Cup over eventual national champion Virginia Union? That will never happen again. Not just because Rankin is now 40 years old and on the golf course, not the hardwood. If we're talking Urbana/Gannon in the championship game, only a crowd of 1,300 at the most is showing up. And Urbana's not going to eventually win a national championship in anything other than tiddlywinks.

So, the days of 6 or 7 feeble non-conference opponents are gone. But so could be legendary Miller Classic and Porreco Cup games, which is a real shame for a Gannon traditionalist. Somewhere Justin Walther (two-time GM Classic MVP from Pitt-Johnstown), Michael Hammond (the sharpshooting 1986 Cup MVP from C.W. Post), Lambert Shell (1990 Porreco MVP for eventual DII runner-up Bridgeport), Jamie Waller (NBA draft pick from Va. Union) and Julius Erving (if you don't know who he is, that's your problem) are feeling a little blue. OK, maybe they're not. But I am.


  1. Sux, big time. Always enjoyed a variety of teams comin downtown. Rather see Drury, Rockhurst or maybe So Conn over another PSAC East team. Just don't like it.

  2. I like it. I DON'T like that they still don't count in standings.. that still remains beyond idiotic. Let's be honest, with the exception of a few teams in the past several years, the non-conference/tourament opponents have been garbage (and if we lost it's because we were THAT bad!). I get tired of watching the meaningless no-name games. Even if Urbana and Lake Erie beat us they are still unimportant teams.

    I'd like to see all PSAC games count in standings and if they do that, totally fine playing the East 8 times. Have the 4 non-conf games be the 2 tourneys. Even if it is a bunch of no-names, we still get our tournaments. It's the individual non-conf games that are so lackluster. Playing Urbana or Lake Erie just as a non-conf game as compared to a tournament game is a totally different thing.

    Start the season off with the Gary Miller Classic and then have the Porreco Cup right around New Years (and by that point they should have the bulk of their PSAC East games done and be entering West play).

    I'm all for it... I'd rather see us playing teams that we could be seeing in PSAC playoffs and Atlantic Region playoffs as compared to seeing us playing teams that we won't even be seeing in the win column half the time.

  3. From a fan's standpoint, the opponents should be better, for the most part, so that's a plus for fans.

    For the AD, it's easier from a scheduling standpoint than trying to find opponents in an area that doesn't have all that many (consistently good)D-II schools (particularly when the neighboring conference won't play you), so that's a plus for the AD.

    However, I'm sure that coaches hate this. Being limited to 4 non-conference games really limits what you can do to prepare your team. It also limits what you can do to enhance the attractiveness of your program by going to out of town tourneys (as the women's team does) or if you are committed to long-established traditional local tourneys (as the men's team is). Should be interesting to see how GU handles this for both programs.

    This "Balance of Life" crap that the PSAC is invoking is a joke. Reducing the number of games by one isn't going to do much, if anything, to reduce the amount of time that players spend on their sport. In fact, it may increase the time spent because practices usually last longer than games, and having one less game allows for one more practice. Perhaps legislating (and enforcing)the number of hours and/or days that a player can spend in sport-related activities (practices, lifting sessions, film sessions, walk-throughs) would have a bigger impact.

    BTW, I'd like to add Kevin Porter to the list of impressive opponents that have performed in the Gem City Bowl/Porreco Cup. Never seen a college player better at breaking down a defense off the dribble for the drive or the dish. Quickest ever.

  4. I have to agree with CoachCorey on this one. Because Gannon has not changed its guaranties we have not been able to attract the better teams. Now maybe we can add more to the guaranties for the Miller and Porreco tournaments and attract better teams. Remember when bids are being awarded the most important measurement is how you do in your region. Bring in teams outside your region and if you take a hit it will not hurt you come bid time. it will only hurt for national rankings and they do not get you bids. Google the name
    Kieon Arkwright
    St Clair County CC

  5. Jim -- I agree. The possible demise of the GM Classic and / or the P-Cup is the first thing that I thought of.

    I may be one of the few, but I am pleased that they still aren't counting crossover games in the PSAC standings. I like leagues that start in mid-January, when a team has some time to form an identity. I don't like league games in November and December. I like having a pre-conference schedule before the games really count. The fairest way to determine a PSAC West champ is by a full double round robin, home & home. With crossover games counting, you can get lucky based on which east teams you play at home and which you play on the road.

    The other bad news about this is that crossover games are generally on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Personally, I despise afternoon games. And with these afternoon games happening in December with all the Christmas shopping and activities, expect small crowds.

  6. By the way, the PSAC is tweeting that the apparent stay of execution for the Big 12 means that the PSAC is still the NCAA's largest football conference.

  7. Playing stronger teams would be better for the fans, as I said. But, all coaches, including most prominent D-I coaches, would like at least a tuneup game or two to get their team's feet under them a little.

    If everything stays the same, and there are 8 crossover games in 2011-12, I'd guess that the Miller will become a tuneup tourney with weaker teams, but the Porreco Cup might be where you'll see stronger opponents.

  8. Is Arkwright supposed to be a GU recruit? He appears to be an opffensive machine, but I wasn't overly impressed with the quality of the defense his opposition was playing in the highlights. Can HE play at the other end?

    By the way, GU's crossover games on this year's schedule are on a Monday and Tuesday at home, and on the weekend on the road.

  9. Signings: After originally signing with Gannon University, Carman-Ainsworth grad Kieon Arkwright will play at Texas Pan-American

  10. Bob: Great scoop.

    BMOC: Great counter-scoop!

    We appreciate the info from both you guys.

  11. And I was getting excited. Oh well I guess there's still Va and Fla to see if they don't get scooped by D1 teams.

  12. Looking at Arkwrights track record, it may be better he's not coming to Gannon...

    HS Freshman - played 12 games before tearing ACL
    HS Sophomore - missed first 7 games, then was kicked off team (school violations)
    HS Junior - returned to team, played 4 games before reinjuring ACL
    HS Senior - played entire season, but had a few suspensions (reasons not disclosed)

    SVSU Freshman - benchwarmer, left team citing "differences with coach"; coach said "he was upset about playing time, he's not at their level yet"
    St. Clair CC - dominated and played whole season (no "trouble" cited)

    He has a bit of a history... sounds like he is a great player, but may not be what we need right now.

    Also, heard Coach has signed 3 more power forwards, anyone know about this?

  13. Regarding incoming players, I'm thinking we'll just have to wait for the official announcement. The lid of secrecy is screwed on pretty tight. I'm told that even the returning players don't know that much, and they have been sworn to keep what they do know in confidence.

  14. Check out Anthony Clagett and Andra Bailey Allen CCC