Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Knights Winless Versus PSAC's Best

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.

I'm 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."

If 16-4 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.

I'm 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.

27 comments:

  1. Should be a damn good game tonight. I think if GU does win this, it will be the biggest win the team has had in years in my view point.

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  2. One omission: Turnovers: Gannon 274th, Slippery Rock 148th.

    GU needs to take care of the ball tonight. Advantage in other areas, as pointed out above is much smaller.

    Should be a low-scoring game. Points and possessions will be at a premium.

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    1. two great minds think alike! ha ha :)

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  3. some more national stat comparisons (some depressing):

    TO Margin - Gannon 247th (-2.5) vs. Slippery Rocky 219th (-1.5)
    TO's per game - Gannon 274th (18.1) vs. Slippery Rock T-148th (15.0)
    Ast/TO per game: Gannon 189th (0.83) vs. Slippery Rock 219th (0.78)
    PPG: Gannon 138th (71.6) vs. Slippery Rock 86th (74.9)

    so combining some of the stats:
    Gannon: PPG 71.6, PPGA 57.5, Margin +14.1
    Slippery Rock: PPG 74.9, PPGA 63.7, Margin +11.2

    Statistically the score would result as: Gannon 68, SRU 66

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  4. side note - Kentucky Wesleyan fell from 3rd to 18th, losing 3 games since the last rankings. Always like to see that :)

    Downer note, Gannon still not in the "others receiving votes", however, neither is Slippery Rock.

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  5. Yikes ... 30-13 with 4:19 to go in the first half. This one's getting away from us, if it hasn't already.

    Obviously, the coaching staff is yelling too much.

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  6. Well ... down to 12 with six minutes to go. Still within reach.

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  7. It's 58-50 with just under four to go. Keeping it interesting ... still will be tough, though.

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  8. We're just a .600 team that beats up on the bad teams and loses to the good ones. Terrible officiating but that is not why we lost.

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  9. We're an .800 team, not a .600 team. It's hard for a 16-4 team to play THAT many bad ones.

    Tonight shows that certainly have work to do before we're considered an elite Atlantic Region team, but let's give the coaches and players SOME credit for winning 16 of their first 20.

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  10. Can't win any games scoring only 18 points in the 1st half...not going to happen.

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  11. Were an .800 team now but by the end of the year we will probobly be a .650 team who can just beat up on the bad teams and lose to the good ones. Gannon has lost to 16-2 Iup, 16-2 east stroudsburg, 14-4 slippery rock and 13-5 west Chester. Gannon has beaten 11-9 mercyhurst, 14-6 millersville, and 12-6 edinboro who lost thier best player for half of the game.

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  12. Jim, for someone who played at Gannon and competed when the program was great, you should know that your comments that Gannon has NO great wins is wrong. Any win against a rival on the road is a great win. I don't care what anyone says about Edinboro, you beat them at their place thats a great win. Unlike most of you, who have probably never played at this level or coached, I look at our schedule and see several great wins. You can throw records out the window against Boro, Hurst, Cal, Rock, IUP. I bet we beat the Rock at home. Go ahead and give up on this team like you always do.

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    1. while I agree with you that a rival win is a great win and a win is a win... I don't think the NCAA Tourney committee or the Atlantic Regional voters are going to say "well Gannon had a great record but lost to all of the good teams in a somewhat weaker than usual PSAC... BUT WAIT.. they beat Mercyhurst and Edinboro... put them in!"

      No one is giving up on this team, but you have to look realistically. One thing Gannon has going for them is that they are playing the same teams that IUP, ESU, Rock and WC play. So Gannon's victories are no less great than ESU, IUP, Rock or WC's victories. However, one difference, is that that Rock, WC IUP and ESU play each other and that then is what separates them a bit from Gannon.

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  13. Jim isn't giving up on the team; I don't think anyone is 'giving up' on the team. He's just pointing out that there is a tough climb to make the NCAAs, and the team has not yet proven that it will be able to make the climb, based on the results and matchups of the season to this point. It's been an enjoyable season to watch but the Knights have yet to prove they belong among the elite teams.

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    1. Jeremy I have never agreed with you more! Gannon has been GREAT this season and it's been a great season and a very fun season to be a fan, BUT Gannon has not proved to be listed with the GREATS of the PSAC. If IUP, SRU, ESU, etc are the GREATS, then Gannon would be the REALLY GOOD team.

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    2. Not saying Jim is giving up, just don't agree with his statement that we have no great wins. Actually Jeremy, my statement was meant for posters like you who gave up when Blazek went down.

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  14. The Who: "The kids are alright"

    This team will bounce back.

    While I respect "The Rock's" athletic ability (probably an objective notch or two above Gannon's), I'm thinking that they will stub their toe on a game that they should win within the next 2 weeks..

    Just a feel.....

    As for our team, they will bounce back!!

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  15. I think that Jim is just pointing out that keeping the status quo (beat up on lesser teams, lose to IUP / SRU) won't get us to the NCAAs, despite that fact that we can finish with 23 or 24 wins. We need to win either @ IUP on 2/6 or home vs. SRU on 2/27. Seems like the 2/27 home finale vs. SRU is the better chance.

    As for the other games, either at Cal or at Mercyhurst looks like the best chance for a toe-stubbing. Can't let that happen (or any other bad loss). Yesterday's loss signficiantly lowered our margin for error in February.

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  16. Sidebar - Did CJ get hurt yesterday? He only played 7 minutes officially... and it looked at some points they could've used his size to help on D and boards.

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    1. CJ is not hurt. He played one minute of the second half. Furno zero. Torrence zero. Total for the game: CJ 7 mins, Furno 8, Torrence 8. R. Wilson played the whole second half at the 4 and Blanton the 5. So, our front line was 6-4, 6-3, and 6-3. Their front line was 6-10, 6-8, 6-6. Surely part of the factor of GU being out rebounded by 12 and SR having 26 points in the paint.

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    2. Torrence did not play...Livramento 8.

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    3. By the way it sounded I believe Coach was going with more guards hoping to outrun their bigger guys and get 3s. However when players are 2-9 shooting that doesn't always work.

      I couldn't believe how quickly blazek fouled out. Had 2 and then in a matter of 2 mins was out.

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  17. Which brings me to the next question: What is Torrance's status and if / when he will return? He wa a big offensive spark in the Edinboro game.

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  18. My error on Torrence ... but still, no bigs played the second half other than one minute by CJ. Coach said Torrence was back practicing but got the flu. So, I figure he should be ready for sat.

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  19. Thought I heard that Torrance's injury is some kind of "lingering" back injury. Apparently, this will result in his being out until he is able to tolerate the discomfort. Something's wrong, but nothing specific has apparently been diagnosed, and only rest seems to be helping. Last I heard, he wasn't practicing.

    As for the future, GU must be wary of an improving Lock Haven team. I watched Mercyhurst-IUP last Wednesday on the IUP website (hey, it was free, and I could still listen to GU and watch IUP at the same time), and I don't think the Crimson Hawks are playing that well. They had an 18 point lead with 15 minutes left, then suddenly relaxed, stopped playing defense and rebounding, and they barely held on. The 7'3" kid never got his warmup jacket off, so their group is shorter, much like GU in size. I think GU could beat them if the Knights play any kind of competent game down there next Wednesday

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