I received an email from a Gannon fan earlier today that basically said, "What is Gannon's best win? What have we done against the 'elite' teams in the PSAC?" I was hoping to email that fan back tonight and say something snarky like, "I'd say this Slippery Rock victory is pretty darn impressive. How about you?" Instead, the Knights got handled by the Rock, 69-56. Even more surprising than the final was Gannon being outrebounded, 39-26.
not going to say anything more about this disheartening loss. I'll just
expand on the emailer's point and look ahead at the rest of the season.
Considering Ws and Ls (not scoring margin), Gannon has no great wins
and no bad losses this season. Click here to look at the schedule and tell me the best team the Knights have defeated.
Millersville (14-6)? Daemen (22-5 NAIA)? Edinboro (13-6)? Virginia
State (9-9)? GU's four losses are to PSAC East leader East Stroudsburg
(16-2), East #2 West Chester (14-5), West leader IUP (16-2), and West #2
Slippery Rock (14-4). Nothing to be ashamed of there, but the best you
can say is, "We're number three! In our conference. Well, one division
of our conference ... that only had two teams in the NCAAs last year ...
who both got drubbed in the first round."
Gannon holds to form the rest of the regular season by beating the
also-rans (Lock Haven twice, vs. Clarion, @ Cal, @ Mercyhurst, and vs.
Edinboro) and falling again to the better teams (at IUP and vs. Slippery
Rock), they'll enter the league playoffs 22-6 and earn the #3 seed in
the West. They'd have to win two PSAC tourney games -- one at home vs. a
mediocre #6 West seed then one at a neutral court against either IUP or
Slippery Rock -- to get to 24-7, which still might not get them into
the NCAAs because of their strength of schedule. And that PSAC
second-round win would be their first of the season against an upper
echelon Division II team.
There's a ton of conjecture
in that last paragraph, but it does make clear that to enjoy March
Madness to any extent, Gannon has to hold serve against lesser teams;
and stealing a win vs. IUP or Slippery Rock would be a gigantic boost.
If the Knights misstep at any point in February, I think they'll have to
win the league tournament to earn an NCAA bid.
sure all this is the furthest thing from John Reilly's mind right now.
He's still smarting over tonight's humbling road loss, giving up 69
points, and getting outrebounded by 13.