Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Three Away From The NCAA

I said in a previous post that we Gannon fans had a better chance of seeing God than Clarion winning at the Hammermill Wednesday, and for once I proved to be correct. The Golden Knights completely outclassed the Golden Eagles, 71-54. I'll say more about the game later, but wanted to look ahead for a little bit first.

Studying the first regional rankings with Gannon holding the #6 spot, it seems to me that if Gannon wins at UPJ Saturday, at home in the PSAC Quarterfinals, and then on a neutral court for the PSAC Semifinals, they will for certain earn an at-large NCAA berth. Lose Saturday and in the quarters and they are done. Any other variation of wins and losses puts them on the bubble at best.

I still can't believe the NCAAs are a possibility. In January, I was lamenting to a friend that the winters in Erie are tough and a good Gannon team gets me through, but that would have to wait until next year. I couldn't have been more wrong. Ten wins in 11 games later, I just realized there's a 6-foot snow drift in my front yard. Where did that come from?

Random thoughts on the game:
* The Gannon Pep Band played the national anthem Wednesday, causing every Gannon fan I know to ask, "We have a pep band?" They played the anthem then didn't stick around for the game. Are they redshirting this season?

* Clarion did not secure its first rebound until 5:38 into the game. Gannon had 8 by that point in the contest.

* Because of the early advantage on the boards and the scoreboard, I commented to Jim LeCorchick, "Blazek might get a rest tonight and play only 39 minutes," to which he responded, "A rest for him is 39-and-a-half minutes." Blazek played 38 minutes and 18 seconds.

* How can your team trail for most of the game by 20+ points, lose by 17, but still have 4 timeouts left at the conclusion of the game like Clarion did? Not sure I've ever seen that before.

* I also had never seen an opposing coach complain to an official after his team benefited from a call. After A'Darius Porter was whistled for a ticky-tack trraveling call in the second half, I believe I overheard Clarion coach Dr. Ron Righter say sarcastically to the referee who made the call, "Way to keep them honest." The official looked completely puzzled after hearing that.

* It was great to see Gannon honor Kirsten Reilly for her service to the team for the past 9 years. The only downside was that is made me feel incredibly old to hear she's attending college next year. I recall meeting her as a toddler after one of Gannon's NCAA basketball games in Owensboro, Ky. when John Reilly coached Brescia. I'm sure John his wife Donna are proud of their hard-working, straight-A daughter.

* Senior Night gives us a chance to reflect, and I had two observations related to that. First, the public address announcer's description of Jen Papich's career highlights took longer than the actual playing time of my four-year career at Gannon. Second, Adam Blazek's 17 points in the first half eclipsed my four-year career point total of 14. I may have stunk as a player, but least I had fun!


  1. really surprised that WLU is #1 and ESU #2.

  2. To the surprise of nobody, that was a very easy win. Good to have two blowouts on Senior night. Thanks to all the seniors -- Sundberg, Papich, and Glass for the women, Newby, Livramento, Emmitt, and Oldham for the men for representing the school so well on and off the basketball court. They make me proud to be a Gannon alumnus and fan!

    This game Saturday is huge and will be more difficult than most think. It's anything but a gimme win. It's more like a toss-up. UPJ is a tough place to play and the Mountain Cats could be playing for their season on Saturday.

  3. A very large thank you to the seven Golden Knight Seniors. They are what makes the Gannon Basketball Program successful.

  4. Two stress free wins. Always a good night when you can say that. That being said, shocked the GU Women are 2 and Glenville are 1. They are neck and neck for #1

  5. not to mention that we beat Glenville head to head.

  6. I've heard that there is some kind of computer-based evaluation system that determines the rankings, but there must be SOME human element, I'm thinking.

    Some have theorized that the Glenville Women, despite having lost to GU at home, are ranked ahead of them because Glenville is leading their league or division or whatever they're in while GU is not. Perhaps that's good for some extra bonus points in the computer equation. Also, some may feel that GU is not as good having lost the services of Doriyon Glass for the season and perhaps have marked GU down because of that loss.

    Realistically, IMO, it t is true that they GU is not as strong without her because they have had matchup problems on D that Glass's presence may have solved were she healthy, particularly with Edinboro.

  7. Well the Women's regional rankings may be about to have a major shakeup. Glenville State just lost, so there is a VERY good chance that is GU wins Saturday that they will be #1 in the regional rankings next week.

  8. My biggest pet peeve with standings for any sport... Regardless records opponents strength of schedule etc. If you beat someone head to head, you're above them. Period. I understand IUP being above Gannon men because of difference in records. However if they were closer, you have to put Gannon ahead because of two head to head wins. Ridiculous not to.

    1. Well, with us being second and Boro being third, Stan Swank and company could probably make the same argument.

    2. What is Edinboro's overall record though? Do they only have 2-3 losses? If they have more than that, then no it should be as-is. However, if they have 2-3 losses, then yes I would think they should be second over Gannon because they went 2-0 against them.

    3. Corey....There are a lot of pure stat guys who visit this blog.......But, just by general feel, I think this may have been one of Gannon's strongest schedule's ever. Maybe someone can crunch some numbers, but, in years past, it seems Gannon drew some weaker opponents early in the season, JUST LIKE MOST TEAMS DO.

      Not this year, it seemed. I'm willing to bet IUP, as good as they are, had at least 2 or 3 very easy tune-up games to start the season.

      My point is that I agree with you 100%. I believe this team is better than IUP, (Sorry Lombardi cheerleaders...) but, due to what I thought was a severe early season schedule (C'mon: Season opener a league game with CAL??????) we are a few wins from IUP's (and others) in the standings.

      No matter. This team dealt with it. Onward to Pitt/Johnstown!

  9. Agree with the Head to Head system. Not only did we beat GSU but we did it at their home, killed a 26 home game win streak and we did it with a new coach
    (only 2nd game with GU) and his new system.
    Now let's take care of the boro and get on to the Elite 8 at the EIA.

  10. Jim -- To your point on time outs, there was a game in the early 1990's where a Bob Dukiet-coached Gannon team played IUP, back in the day when each team received five timeouts for the entire game.

    Gannon used all five of its time outs in the game. IUP used none.

  11. Interesting game in the CIAA this week. The result was first announced as a tie, but now the teams may get back together to finish it. Here are two related articles: