Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Scoreboard Central

Boy is this a weird feeling. This week Division II basketball teams are fighting with all their might to keep their season going or improve their playoff standing, but Gannon is sitting home on a double bye. The Knights know they are the PSAC West's #1 seed and will play a home game Tuesday. Beyond that is anybody's guess.

All we can do to occupy our time is engage in scoreboard watching, which gives me a rush I can't accurately describe. I guess part of it is that it feels good for my favorite team to be relevant. Believe me, I wasn't checking regional rankings two years ago when Gannon stumbled to a 14-12 record. Another reason for my excitement is I'm a combination basketball nut/stats geek. This is about the most fun you can have sitting on your buttocks.

Let's start our scoreboard watch with the Feb. 26 Atlantic Region rankings. The teams are listed in order followed by their current overall record and in-region record. I'll update the schedule and records as results occur. I mean I'm watching all the scoreboards anyway, so why not share what I see with the world?

1. West Liberty (22-2, 21-2): W vs. Wheeling Jesuit
2. East Stroudsburg (24-1, 24-1): W vs. #7 West Chester, vs. TBD PSAC Quarterfinal
3. Indiana Pa. (23-3, 23-3): W vs. Slippery Rock, vs. Mercyhurst PSAC Quarterfinal
4. Charleston (18-8, 18-8):  W vs. Concord, L at WV State
5. Shepherd (19-9, 19-9): L vs. #10 WV Wesleyan, L at #9 Fairmont State
6. Gannon (18-8, 18-8): vs. TBD PSAC Quarterfinal
7. West Chester (18-8, 18-8): L at #2 Stroudsburg, vs. TBD PSAC Quarterfinal
8. Glenville State (17-9, 17-9): W at #10 WV Wesleyan
9. Fairmont State (17-9, 17-9):  W at Notre Dame Oh., W vs. #5 Shepherd
10. West Virginia Wesleyan (17-11, 17-11): W at #5 Shepherd, L vs. #8 Glenville State
Dropped out: Livingstone, Mercyhurst

The game of the night didn't end until about 10:30 PM as #2 Stroudsburg held off #7 West Chester, 74-71, after ESU led by as many as 13 points. That's great news for the Knights because it only widens the gap between them and the teams nipping at their heels. Also good news was #4 Charleston and #5 Shepherd suffering upsets; now both those teams have 8 in-region losses just like our Knights and gave Gannon the opportunity to move up in the region (if GU takes care of business in the PSAC quarters). UPDATED 2/27/14: I just received an email from Gannon SID Dan Teliski that there was a typo on the Mountain East website and Charleston actually won last night, so they still have only 7 losses.

The great action wasn't just limited to the top 10. Mercyhurst ended the regular season with a thud, losing tonight at home to Pitt-Johnstown, 73-71. The Mountain Cats blew a double-digit lead but scored with three seconds left to steal the win and drop the Lakers to 15-11. Unfortunately for UPJ, they missed the PSAC playoffs because Cal rallied for a victory at Seton Hill, 62-58. The Vulcans trailed at the half 33-17 but erupted for 45 second-half points to claim the win and the West's final playoff spot. Heck, even cellar-dwellers Edinboro and Slippery Rock played doozy tonight, giving the defense the evening off during the Scots' 98-90 victory. At least Golden Eagle Mike Kromka had one thing to smile about this miserable season.

So here's how the West playoff picture looks:
#1 Gannon vs. winner of #5 Seton Hill at #4 Slippery Rock
#2 Indiana vs. winner of #6 Cal at #3 Mercyhurst

I'm trying to draw up scenarios where Gannon won't make the NCAA playoffs, and the only one I can think of is: Gannon losing in the PSAC quarters, someone besides Stroud or IUP winning the PSAC, and someone currently outside the top 8 winning the Mountain East. So, if GU wins Tuesday, I think they're in because someone winning the Mountain East outside the top 8 means Charleston and Shepherd will suffer losses. UPDATED 2/27/14: Also from Teliski: "The Mountain East Conference doesn't have an automatic bid this year. Even though it's basically a revised WVIAC, it is considered a first-year conference according to the NCAA. It has to go through the NCAA transition process for new conferences and is not eligible for an automatic bid in its first year. So, only the PSAC and CIAA champ gets automatic bids with 6 others getting at-large bids."

I'm not sure how to end this post other than to say "stay tuned." The fun is just beginning -- both at the Hammermill and around the region. We'll be watching.


  1. I neglected to mention in my recap perhaps the most important PSAC news of all. The Mansfield women ran the table and finished the season an imperfect 0-26. They shot only 35% from the field and averaged 21 turnovers a game. They also averaged 219 fans per home game. I feel sad for everyone involved in a season like that.

    1. Being a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan since their inception, I'm sure you can empathize with 0-26. :-)

      To my knowledge, no local college team has ever run the table in that fashion. The closest anyone ever came was the Mercyhurst women, who finished with only one win, a home victory against a Gannon team that just lost its starting center. I believe it was Cleve's first season at the helm of GU. Sadly, Mercyhurst felt like their season was a success.

  2. 219 fans? I don't know the attendance for all, but that's gotta be close to beating the avg attendance of some other schools. I can't believe they surpassed an average of 50!

    1. they averaged more than 6 women's teams and 2 men's teams (Shippensburg 213 and UPJ 190)

  3. There are more gluttons for punishment out there than we thought.

  4. I think I know where the Riley critics have gone ... they have come to Columbus, Ohio barking that Ohio State basketball Coach Matta does not know what he is doing ... doing the same offense over and over ... should play some zone ... good recruiter but can't win the big one ...

    Thadd's stat line:He has posted 20 or more wins per season in all 14 seasons he has been a head coach.
    Matta has led the Buckeyes to five Big Ten Conference regular season championships, four Big Ten Tournament titles (2007, 2010, 2011 and 2013), a runner-up finish in the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the 2008 NIT Championship, and a second Final Four berth in 2012. Matta also tied the record for most wins by a first-year coach at Ohio State (20)

    I will put up with them until GU concludes their season ... they will come back here then.

    and should be getting some Tressel heat for the poor season they are having, especially being swept by last place Penn State.

  5. Anyone else suffering through Gannon hoops withdrawal? This 10 days between games really stinks. Hard to believe that we have to wait till Tuesday for another game.

  6. In the CIAA tournament (a.k.a., the battle for the 8-seed) Livingstone its their semifinal game and will face the winner of the Johnson C. Smith-Winston Salem State contest going on right now.

    How bored am I with no basketball? Did you know that Livingstone College was named for the medical missionary and African explorer and is the subject of the famous quote: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

    Never knew that Dr. Livingstone has a ton of stuff named after him, including schools, churches, rivers, streets in Africa, Scotland, New Zealand, Canada, USA, and South America.

    Please get me some basketball to watch. I can't take it anymore.

  7. This makes me laugh and I have to share ...

    The first thing that pops up on the Mansfield University website (the UNIVERSITY site, not the athletics site) is big picture with the words "Top Student Athletes" and is an action shot from women's basketball.

    Try it yourself:

  8. No, but there is some PSAC hoops action going on. Stroudsburg women won at Millersville by one on a last second three-pointer.

    Cal men lead Mercyhurst, 20-19 at the half. Both teams shooting less than 30% from the field. That one must be a joy to watch for the group in attendance at the MAC.

  9. Mercyhurst needs a late rally to beat Cal 54-50. They were down 44-38 late in the second half.

  10. West Liberty should stay #1 in the region. They manhandled Wheeling Jesuit this afternoon, 70-50.

  11. Golden opportunity for Gannon to move up in the region, provided they take care of business Tuesday. #4 Charleston lost at sub-.500 West Va. State today, 78-74, while #5 Shepherd took two hits this week. The Rams (who beat Gannon by 10 in the Porreco Cup) lost during the week vs. #10 West Va. Wesleyan and today at #9 Fairmont State, 74-72. Shepherd missed a 3 with three seconds left, grabbed the offensive rebound, then missed two free throws. That ought to be a pleasant trip home.

    Charleston now has 8 in-region losses while Shepherd has 9. Gannon has 8 to date.

  12. #8 Glenville thumped #10 WV Wesleyan on the road today, 78-58. So the Knights have an opportunity to move up while at the same time have little room between them and the teams behind them. #8 Glenville and #9 Fairmont had perfect weeks.

  13. Slippery Rock and Seton Hill tied at 44 with 11:30 to play in regulation.

  14. Slippery Rock survives and will play at Gannon Tuesday night. The Rock held off Seton Hill tonight, 68-65.

  15. Attended Cal-MU today, and it was as bad as you'd imagine.Have no idea how Cal could beat anyone, let alone GU and IUP.

    Typical MU game. They play in a pedestrian manner for about 25-30 minutes, the opponent gets out to a decent lead, then MU picks up their defense as the opponent tries to hang on to the lead by milking the clock every possession. MU only has to play defense for about 12 seconds per possession, which suits them perfectly. They catch up with under 2 minutes left, take the lead, the other team has a couple unsuccesful possessions, they foul, MU makes the free throws. Game over. Basketball purists, I'm sure, are of the opinion that each MU game sets the evolution of the game of basketball back about 5 years, but they find a way to win again and again. I'm sure they'll give IUP fits on Tuesday..

    It's ugly with a capital U, but somehow they win. Really hard to watch.

  16. I find the WVIAC results worrisome. The teams behind us are winning and there are in reality only seven spots as I presume that Livingstone will be the eight seed as they won the CIAA festival.

    I am thinking more and more that we will have to win on Tuesday to get an NCAA bid. Lose and there's a better than 50-50 shot that we're going to be on the outside looking in.

  17. I agree. Win Tuesday or proceed directly to the off-season. But chances of losing to Slippery Rock at home in a playoff game, none.

  18. Let's just win Tuesday night. .

    The two most physical teams in the league going at it with everything on the line.

  19. I'm not as concerned about the Mountain East as Golden. #8 Glenville and #5 Shepherd meet in the quarters, so one of them will lose. In the same situation are #9 Fairmont and #10 WVa Wesleyan, head to head in the quarters. The winner gets #1 West Liberty -- no easy task. The playin games for Shepherd (8-20 Concord) and Wesleyan (0-26 Urbana) won't help their cause.

    Yes, if Gannon wins they are in. But some big upsets will need to happen for them to miss out I think.

    1. Regardless if Gannon wins tomorrow (but obviously hoping they do), as long as WLU and ESU win their conferences (with exception of if Gannon wins PSAC), Gannon should make it. As long as no underdog (against exception Gannon) knocks those 2 off, I think we are sitting pretty for NCAA.

  20. Gogannongo I would like to be as confident as you are about Slippery Rock. I am not happy with the opponents for the Women or Men. I never like to play a team that we have beaten twice already.

    1. Bob:

      No offense, but I've never understood that logic. Mercyhurst has lost to IUP twice, so if you had $1,000 who would you bet it on? I'd rather be the 2-0 team than the 0-2 team every time.

    2. I agree with Bob. For the girls, not so much. I would put my money on GU Women.

      For the guys however, I'd split the $1000 and put $500 on GU and $500 on Slippery Rock haha but in all seriousness, I don't like playing a team that you've played 2 hard fought victories against. Both close games, both games involved runs made by SRU... not a gimme game by any means.

      I would've much rather played Cal, Seton Hill or Mercyhurst (in that order).
      Cal we had an off game when we lost and then took care of them, I'd put all my money on Gannon in a home playoff game.
      Seton Hill we had an off game when we lost and then handled them second time around, I'd not put $1000 on Gannon, but probably $750.
      Mercyhurst is obviously dangerous, but after watching both games.. I'd put my money on Gannon (about $500). I just think that playoff atmosphere at the Mill vs MC... Gannon has it. Not a gimme, but a great chance.

      SRU, however, scares me. My fear is a last second shot stunner for SRU or that we get in a hole to start off and not be able to come back against them. Of the three aforementioned teams, if we got in a hole I'd have faith we could overcome it. Against SRU... I think if we get down.. we're down for good.

      Just my opinion though.

  21. In the Mountain East, West Virginia Wesleyan plays 0-26 Urbana in the first round tonight. WVW has beaten Urbana twice, meaning that Urbana has a great shot. :-)