Saturday, February 23, 2013

Knights Roll; Are They Ready To Rock?

Two parts to this post -- first a review, then a preview. Even though Gannon manhandled Lock Haven today, 82-69, to move to 21-6 on the season, this week was choppy at best. It started with a regional ranking of #8 which puts you on the NCAA tournament radar but just barely. Then there was that 44-36 travesty at Mercyhurst which featured a thundering dunk on the Knights that made ESPN's Plays Of The Day. Injury, meet insult. This afternoon's game featured a much improved offense that hit 62% of its field goals and actually surpassed Wednesday's full-game output in each half (43 points in the first half, 39 in the second).

Gannon wasn't the only one with a stress-inducing week. IUP lost a heartbreaker at Slippery Rock today, 70-69, giving them 2 losses in their last 3 games. Since Feb. 6, the seemingly untouchable Crimson Hawks are just 3-3. And did you see what's going on in the PSAC East? Stroudsburg was 17-1 in the conference and 19-3 overall 10 days ago, but after today's 83-76 home loss to West Chester, the Warriors have lost their grip on first place in the conference after three consecutive defeats (including an inexplicable double-digit loss to 7-18 Shippensburg). Who knows how far they'll tumble when the new regional rankings are unveiled Feb. 27.

So while us Gannon fans are licking our wounds because of back-to-back Wednesday night nightmares (@ Mercyhurst, vs. Edinboro), we need to keep perspective that lots of good teams are struggling now. February is a difficult time of year for many reasons. You've been with the same teammates and coaches for four straight months now, and there's bound to be friction. With all the hours you've spent in the gym, everybody had bumps, bruises, pains, and strains. And did I mention that by now every opponent knows your #1, #2, and #3 options and knows how to take them away from you? If you're around .500 or below, you're counting down the days to the end. If you're fortunate to be in the playoff hunt like Gannon, you're feeling the pressure of staying in the race.

Now the preview. Gannon SSID (Super Sports Information Director) Dan Teliski sets the stage for Wednesday's tilt vs. Slippery Rock:

If Gannon defeats Slippery Rock, the Golden Knights will grab the PSAC Western Division's second seed that comes with a PSAC Tournament first-round bye and a quarterfinal home game. Indiana (Pa.) would be the top seed and Slippery Rock would be the third seed. If Slippery Rock defeats Gannon, the Rock will capture the division's top seed. Indiana (Pa.) would fall to the second seed and Gannon would drop the third seed. The third seed will host a PSAC Tournament first-round contest, before hitting the road for any additional games.

In addition to that, if Gannon were to lose they'd host #6 Cal in a PSAC first round game. Even if GU would vaporize the Vulcans for the third time this season, that would earn them a PSAC Quarterfinal game at #2 IUP, no easy task. A loss there would result in a 21-8 in-region record, which I believe would burst their NCAA bubble.

Now put on your optimist's hat. Were Gannon to beat SRU, they would be 21-6 in the region with a PSAC Quarters home game looming, possibly a rematch with the Rock. Win that one, too, and even if you lose in the PSAC Semis you'd be 22-7 with some recent quality wins in your back pocket.

If I were John Reilly, I'd have my staff spending every waking moment for the next three days watching film of every Slippery Rock game this season and I'd ban players from watching any movies by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, "The Rock" with Sean Connery, or "School of Rock" with Jack Black. Yes, it's that important.

UPDATE 2/24/13: Here are the Atlantic Region top 10 results from last week. The team's record since the Feb. 20 regional ranking was released is in parentheses --

#1 West Liberty (2-0): W @ Pitt-Johnstown, W vs. #10 Wheeling Jesuit
#2 Winston-Salem (1-1): W vs. #9 Johnson C. Smith, L #6 @ Livingstone
#3 Fairmont State (1-1): L @ Seton Hill, W vs. Ohio Valley
#4 East Stroudsburg (0-2): L @ Millersville, L vs. West Chester
#5 Indiana (1-1): W vs. Edinboro, L @ Slippery Rock
#6 Livingstone (2-0): W vs. St. Augustine, W vs. #2 Winston-Salem
#7 Alderson-Broaddus (2-0): W at Davis & Elkins, W @ Glenville State
#8 Gannon (1-1): L @ Mercyhurst, W @ Lock Haven
#9 Johnson C. Smith (0-2): L vs. #2 Winston-Salem, L @ Shaw
#10 Wheeling Jesuit (1-1): W vs. Charleston 2OT, L @ #1 West Liberty

I wouldn't be shocked to see Slippery Rock make its debut on this list after a 2-0 week that included a thumping of Cal and a victory vs. #5 IUP.

32 comments:

  1. Ladie & Men on your pc. Thru LHU web cast
    go GU BB page

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  2. Jabs not starting... Prediction on mins? I'm saying 6.

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  3. Wow ... 31 points with 7:37 to go in the FIRST half time time. 13/18 shooting with four turnovers.

    Possession analysis to date:

    13 baskets
    2 FT attempts (4/4)
    4 LHU Defensive rebounds
    4 turnovers.

    So we're getting shots off on 19 out of 23 possessions. Much better. Our offense is pretty efficient when we get a shot off.

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  4. Time to chug the coke, they are over 36...YES

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  5. Here's this games Saturday Shocking Stat:
    Rebounds (with 3 mins left)
    Gannon 20
    Lock Haven 25

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  6. Darned good "bounce back" win this afternoon!! Nicely balanced contributions from the entire squad. We all have to be pleased with our 21st victory!!

    Bring on "the Rock" Wednesday night!!

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  7. 69 points given up. What a utter disgrace. I was hoping for an effort like Wednesday at Mercyhurst, but I guess it wasn't going to happen. I'm so upset I may not bother to show up against SRU.

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  8. Slippery Rock beats IUP 70-69. Down 68-58, IUP rallies and actually has a shot at the end to win.

    Had we been able to crack the mid 40's at Mercyhurst, Wednesday's game would be for a share of the PSAC West. Assuming that IUP beats Lock Haven at home on Wednesday, the best a win will get the Knights is a share of second.

    Does anyone know how the tie-breakers work? Who wins a two-way tie between Gannon and The Rock?

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  9. Here's what Dan Teliski emailed to me about the playoffs and tiebreakers:

    We finally got through all the numbers. The PSAC has to confirm this, but we are 99.9 percent sure of this. Gannon can’t get the No. 1 seed because they best we can do is tie IUP and we would lose the tiebreaker.

    Wednesday’s season-finale between Gannon and Slippery Rock will be a winner-takes-all for second place and the first-round bye/quarterfinal home game that comes with it. I won’t get into the scenarios, but we will win the tiebreaker in every imaginable combination where we tie with Slippery Rock.

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  10. Dan just sent a follow-up about playoff scenarios:

    If Gannon beats Slippery Rock Wednesday …
    (1) IUP
    (2) Gannon
    (3) Slippery Rock

    If Slippery Rock beats Gannon Wednesday …
    (1) Slippery Rock
    (2) IUP
    (3) Gannon

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    1. Dan always delivers in the clutch.

      So the winner of the GU / Slippery Rock will have a much easier path to an at-large bid.

      We will likely need two back-to-back home wins vs. The Rock in order to get to the PSAC semis and a winnable neutral court game against the PSAC East champ.

      The path to the NCAA's is laid out. Let's take it!

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  11. Good bounce back game and glad they won (most road wins in a season in school history), but if I'm slippery rock I gotta feel pretty good about playing Gannon Wednesday night.

    They just beat IUP - gonna have some confidence and momentum.

    Gannon - lost to edinboro at home; nothing spectacular vs clarion; embarrassed by Hurst on the hill; lackluster win at lock haven.

    Hopefully the team that played vs IUP will show up vs the rock.

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  12. James J Roddy

    Even at our age you and I have vastly different ideas as to what a drinking game is!

    :-)

    qe nul soit si hardy de crier havok sur peine davoir la test coupe."

    in other words....

    Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;

    Translation
    let's get it on!

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  13. Let me get this straight ... from a PSAC West standpoint, the Lock Haven at IUP game means absolutely zilch for IUP. It all comes down to: if SRU wins, IUP's the 2 seed; if Gannon wins, IUP's the 1-seed. Pretty unusual.

    So it would behoove any true Crimson Hawks fan to don maroon & gold, make the trip to Erie and cheer like crazy for the Knights!! We'll take anyone we can get!

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    1. Well I got plenty of facepaint ready, can use the additional fans for sure!

      This game Wednesday is going to more than likely determine the NCAA fate for SRU and GU. A heck of a lot easier to make a PSAC tourney run with a 1st round bye than not.

      Delete
  14. http://www.kubears.com/news/2013/2/23/MBB_0223134727.aspx?path=mbball

    You've got to read this story about Kutztown's OT loss Saturday. Spoiler alert: they finished the game with only 3 players.

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    1. Wow ... a huge twist in the plot for the worst-of-the-worst battle in the PSAC East. KU is the leader for the PSAC East booby prize.

      Looked at the box score and KU's minutes still add up to 225. Before I crucify the stats crew, it should be known that Kutztown played with four for the last 18 seconds and with three for only the last seven seconds.

      Delete
  15. Time to REALLY encourage the students to show up in LARGE numbers......the louder the better come Wednesday night !!!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, maybe, for once, the number of students in attendance will exceed our score in the Mercyhurst game.

      Delete

  16. UPDATE 2/24/13: Here are the Atlantic Region top 10 results from last week. The team's record since the Feb. 20 regional ranking was released is in parentheses --

    #1 West Liberty (2-0): W @ Pitt-Johnstown, W vs. #10 Wheeling Jesuit
    #2 Winston-Salem (1-1): W vs. #9 Johnson C. Smith, L #6 @ Livingstone
    #3 Fairmont State (1-1): L @ Seton Hill, W vs. Ohio Valley
    #4 East Stroudsburg (0-2): L @ Millersville, L vs. West Chester
    #5 Indiana (1-1): W vs. Edinboro, L @ Slippery Rock
    #6 Livingstone (2-0): W vs. St. Augustine, W vs. #2 Winston-Salem
    #7 Alderson-Broaddus (2-0): W at Davis & Elkins, W @ Glenville State
    #8 Gannon (1-1): L @ Mercyhurst, W @ Lock Haven
    #9 Johnson C. Smith (0-2): L vs. #2 Winston-Salem, L @ Shaw
    #10 Wheeling Jesuit (1-1): W vs. Charleston 2OT, L @ #1 West Liberty

    I wouldn't be shocked to see Slippery Rock make its debut on this list after a 2-0 week that included a thumping of Cal and a victory vs. #5 IUP.

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  17. Livingstone if supposed would jump to about 3rd and rock debut at 7th. Who would be 2nd? Winston stay there or fairmont bump up? Livingstone jump that high? Gannon may still stay in top 10, unlikely but not impossible.

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  18. I expect Gannon to be in the top 10, maybe stay at 8th, no worse than 9th. Who is going to pass us? Maybe WJU because they lost at #1 West Liberty.

    It sure feels like Slippery Rock should make the top 8. But if they started the week at least three spots behind Gannon, will we still be ahead of them?

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  19. Regional rankings guessing game again?
    1. West Liberty
    2. WS State
    3. Livingstone
    4. Fairmont State
    5. IUP
    6. ESU
    7. Anderson Broaddus
    8. Slippery Rock
    9. Gannon
    10. West Chester

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    Replies
    1. #1 West Liberty 23-1
      #2 Livingstone 18-4
      #3 Winston-Salem 17-4
      #4 Fairmont State 18-5
      #5 Alderson-Broaddus 18-7
      #6 Slippery Rock
      #7 IUP 19-5
      #8 East Stroudsburg 19-5
      #9 Wheeling Jesuit 16-9
      #10 West Chester

      I took the records they had listed on the Regional Rankings site + the week record that Jim provided and also looked at conference standings. Do I actually think Livingstone will bump up to 2nd? Probably not, no. But I also don't see justifying anyone else being there.

      Delete
  20. Just received this email from a Gannon fan. Very interesting scenario which I would LOVE to see:

    I know this is a long shot, but bear with me. Should the Gannon men end up hosting the PSAC Final Four (either coming out as the #3 seed or more likely #2 seed), the doubleheader on Friday, March 9 would be Gannon facing a team from the east as well as either Edinboro or Mercyhurst also facing a team from the east. Wouldn't that be a wild weekend?

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    1. And if we're REALLY lucky, we can all be treated to a Gannon / Mercyhurst championship game. Who wouldn't want to see a repeat of those two teams slogging it out but with much higher stakes?

      Truth be told, I would take any matchup in the PSAC final with Gannon as one of the teams, even if it means sitting through 40 minutes of unwatchable basketball.

      This scenario Jim describes is entirely plausible. With the way that IUP has been scuffling as of late and Edinboro's ability play well on the road ... it's still a low probablity, but not as out of the question as some might think. Heck, the 3-seed in the East (West Chester) hosted the PSAC semis / finals last year and won it.

      Delete
  21. Just released:

    ERIE, Pa. – The Gannon men's basketball team dropped out of the national rankings for the first time in three weeks and is among others receiving votes in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC)/Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll released Tuesday afternoon.

    West Liberty (W.Va.) leapfrogged two teams to become the new No. 1 with a 27-1 record. The Hilltoppers received nine of the 16 first-place votes during a tight vote. Metropolitan State (Colo.) (23-1) picked up four first-place votes to finish second and Western Washington (25-1) secured three first-place nods to place third. Seattle Pacific (Wash.) (21-3) and Cal Poly Pomona (22-2) completed the top five.

    Alabama-Huntsville (21-4), Minnesota State (22-4), Drury (Mo.) (21-4), Saint Anselm (N.H.) (21-4) and Winston-Salem State (N.C.) (20-5) rounded out the top 10.

    Gannon is one of three Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) teams listed in the rankings. Indiana (Pa.) (16th) and East Stroudsburg (20th) are listed in the actual top 25. West Liberty (1st) and Winston-Salem State (W.Va.) (10th) also represent the NCAA Division II Atlantic region in the top 25.

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    1. I was just thinking ... if the committee had seen the Mercyhurst game, Gannon might have dropped all the way to the PIAA Class AA poll.

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  22. The Slippery Rock web site articluates the scenarios very well. The IUP site is incorrect that IUP needs to win along with an SRU loss to clinch the PSAC West top seed. The IUP game is meaningless to their PSAC West hopes.

    A Gannon win gets them the #2 seed due to a better record vs. NCAA Division II sub-.500 teams. And who said that piling up all these wins against bad teams was not beneficial? :-)

    A Rock win Wednesday, regardless of the outcome of IUP's game vs. Lock Haven, gives the Green and White the division's No. 1 seed, a first-round bye and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs since that win would give SRU a 2-0 sweep vs. Gannon. IUP and Gannon split their head-to-head meetings this winter.

    A Rock loss Wednesday, regardless of the IUP-LHU outcome, drops SRU into the No. 3 seed and into a host role for first-round action Saturday. Gannon would earn the No. 2 seed as a result of having a better winning percentage against NCAA Division II teams with less than a .500 record (15-0, 1.000 for Gannon; 11-1, .917 for SRU).

    If Gannon beats The Rock and IUP loses to Lock Haven, all three teams would finish with 16-6 conference records. IUP then earns No. 1 seed thanks to its 2-0 record against Edinboro (SRU and Gannon each split with Edinboro) and Gannon earns the No. 2 seed based on their winning percentage against D-II teams with less than a .500 record.

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    1. In case anyone cares, we can thank the Lake Erie Storm for our #2 seed if we win. Slippery Rock lost in overtime on the road 80-73 to the now 8-17 Storm on November 24.

      If we win, we'll pay special tribute to Lake Erie's Riley Thomas, who hit a three-pointer with five seconds left to tie the game at 64 and send it to an extra session. LEC was 3-0 at the time, but lost their next five.

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  23. Jimmy, back in the day, MYAA even had standings!!!!!

    -----------

    In the "Slight Irritation" Department, how about how Slippery Rock drags the whole team out on the court during time-outs?

    All well and good.....but, down there early in the game, Robert Wilson slipped on some perspiration, lost the ball, and, if I remember corectly, the Rock scored an easy layup going the other way.

    Watching that game for a moment with a PSAC ref, he remarked that The Rock's staff thinks every game is at Rupp Arena!

    Here's hoping their managers keep the floor dry down on that end!







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