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.
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.
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.
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
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
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