Sunday, March 9, 2014

We're In!

What seemed impossible 7 weeks ago is a reality today: Gannon has been selected for the NCAA Division II men's basketball tournament!

Here is the Atlantic Region men's field which will be hosted at East Stroudsburg:
#1 East Stroudsburg (28-1) vs. #8 Livingstone (21-7)
#4 Charleston W.V. (21-8) vs. #5 Gannon (19-9)

#3 Indiana Pa. (23-4) vs. #6 West Chester (20-9)
#2 West Liberty (26-3) vs. #7 Glenville State (18-10)

I bet Fairmont State is berserk. They were #6 in the region heading into the Mountain East tournament, went 1-1 with their loss to powerhouse West Liberty, but then saw #8 Glenville -- who also went 1-1 in the MEC tournament -- get a bid instead. All this week I had two teams listed as "very likely in." One was Fairmont and the other was Gannon. Glad the Knights got the call instead.

Gannon will face former assistant coach Chris Kibler in the first round. Now an assistant at CU, Kibler coached under Jerry Slocum and is a super-nice guy. He's been back to a few Gannon games over the years and has been very pleasant. I tried sending him a "good luck" email a few minutes ago but it bounced back. Let's hope Gannon is not rejected Saturday in similar fashion.

The regionals open Saturday, March 15, with the second round set for Sunday, March 16. Two lucky teams will meet Tuesday, March 18, in the regional finals. The men's Elite 8 will be held March 26, 27, and 29 in Evansville, Ind.

Interesting to see 2013-14 GU opponent LeMoyne make the field as the #6 seed in the East Region. The Dolphins finished their season 17-11 overall, one of those wins occurring at the Hammermill over the Knights, 65-62, back on Nov. 29. Former Gannon players Bubby Johnson and Stephen Battle will be in the tournament as well representing South #1 seed Florida Southern (26-4).

Here is the Atlantic Region women's field which will be hosted at Glenville State:
#1 Glenville State (28-3) vs. #8 West Liberty (20-10)
#4 Bloomsburg (24-4) vs. #5 Virginia State (25-2)

#3 Gannon (27-3) vs. #6 Shaw (21-8)
#2 Edinboro (24-5) vs. #7 Charleston (21-8)


  1. Nice draw ... We'll play the dreary 8:30 game on Saturday. Reilly's team is ready no matter what of day they play. Nice to not have to face a PSAC west team until possibly the final.

    And SHOCKED that Glenville made it over Fairmont. .

  2. I was close, just missed GU at 5 and West Chester at 6.

    1. You also had Fairmont instead of Glenville, as did just about everyone, except the NCAA committee.

  3. Got two teams in the dance at least!

  4. Congrats to the entire team and staff on an NCAA bid!! This group certainly deserved it!!

    Go Knights!

    1. Indeed! Congrats to all! Back to Stroudsburg for some Saturday night hoops!

  5. Good Luck to both Gannon squads. And congratulations to C J Oldham who defines the term "student athlete"!

    1. Here are the details on CJ's award. Great to see the team doesn't have to sacrifice winning to have success on the floor:

      Gannon's C.J. Oldham Named PSAC Men's Basketball Champion Scholar

      ERIE, Pa. - Gannon's C.J. Oldham (Solon, Ohio/Solon) has been named the 2014 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Men's Basketball Champion Scholar. Oldham received the award prior to the start of Saturday's PSAC semifinals at the Koehler Fieldhouse in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

      In its third year of existence, the PSAC Champion Scholar Award is modeled after the NCAA's Elite 88 award. The award honors the student-athlete with the top grade point average who is competing at the site of each of the PSAC's 23 team championship finals.

      A Mechanical Engineering major, Oldham owns a 3.68 cumulative grade point average after completing 133 credits towards his degree. A PSAC Scholar-Athlete, Oldham received the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association (ADA) Academic Achievement Award last season. The senior forward was also named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court, reserved for junior and senior varsity players with at least one year of residency at their current school and a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher at the conclusion of the academic year.

  6. GU women vs. Shaw, Friday, noon. Broadcast live on 90.5 WERG.

  7. GU men vs. Charleston, Friday, 8:30. Broadcast on Jet Radio 1400.

  8. Sorry, Corey. Daylight Savings has scrambled my brain...and my calendar!

  9. Looking back, I though both Lemoyne and Shepherd were NCAA both caliber teams, especially Shep. I think the pretty strong early season schedule got this Gannon team ready for the great run to finish the season.

    We felt every bump and bruise this team took, but, it has all paid off!! Very interesting to scroll back and tool around the posts and comments here as the season progressed.

    1. I have quite a few "fond" memories of posts from this season... I won't mention names or the posts, however, the irony is that Coach Reilly earned Coach of the Year, Adam Blazek hit a BIG shot in the Slippery Rock game in the waning moments to help lead them to OT and a win and he also was the Player of the Year, and CJ who many didn't understand why he was on the court half the time because of his lack of offense (I'll admit the offensive said did have me in a tizzy sometimes) earns Defensive Player of the Year.

      Look at the changes that were made and how they paid off...

      Opening Day Lineup Current
      PG Jabs PG Adam
      SG Adam SG Girbran
      SF Dogan SF RT-E
      F CJ F CJ
      F Porter F Porter

      Girbran, Raphell and Tee played minimal minutes in the first few games.... G and RT-E have now contributed tremendously! Tee did as well, but obviously that was a short stint (hope to see him back next season!). Jabs' role was reduced, but you never once saw him on the sideline with his head down pouting or feeling bad for himself... same with Dogan. They both have been two of Gannon's biggest supporters! Speaking of Dogan, after seeing his first few games, I think many people wondered how he beat out someone for the starting spot. He's come a long way now! He's hit big shots, he's much more relaxed on offense and his defensive game has picked up immensely!

      The question I ask myself... "Would all of this have happened and would we have even been in the PSAC playoffs, let alone the NCAA tourney, if Coach Reilly had been let go earlier in the season?" I know my thoughts/answer; I'm sure you all have similar to mine.

    2. Well stated, Corey.

      It's also interesting that we have not heard a bit from some of those posters in 6 weeks. All good, though!! They have missed out on a really nice run.

      Nice article in paper this morning regarding Gannon's tough early season schedule. Although I would have preferred back then some "easier" games that would have perhaps resulted in two or three wins (Hmmm 22-6 versus 19-9 sounds nice), I'm now convinced that playing a tough early schedule is a net POSITIVE.

      The heck with an opening 8-2 run to start the season!!!.......I'd rather have a 13-1 or 13-2 run to finish the season much more!!!

      Just think......the majority of this run 4 Juniors and 1 Senior have been on the floor!! (With KEY help from the seniors off the bench, and a freshman with great upside!!!)

      Go Knights!

    3. I feel if our schedule wouldn't have been exactly how it was, Fairmont may be in the tourney and not us. Strength of schedule always plays key and the fact that none of the losses were "blowouts" helps the cause (obviously wins would've helped more haha)

  10. Looking at schedules and records for Fairmont and Glenville... not surprised that Glenville made it over Fairmont. 1) despite have almost identical records Glenville swept the season series, 2) Fairmont lost 2 games to teams that Glenville, and just about everyone else, manhandled, 3) Glenville lost to eventual champion Charleston.

    1. Good points ... It seems like the NCAA uses a "formula" to do the regional rankings and head-to-head stuff like you list above is taken into consideration only when bids are extended.

      Also ... four schools in the Atlantic Region have both men's and women's teams in regional (Gannon, West Liberty, Glenville, Charleston).

  11. While we have some time to kill before the NCAA's ... Don't mean to hijack the board, but what were some of the biggest plays / your favorite plays of the year? Thinking off the top of my head, my three are:

    1. Blazek three-point play late in the second half of game at Mercyhurst -- a difficult one-handed shot off the glass with contact. The official's signaling that the basket was good briefly looked like he was calling a charge and would have caused a riot. The free-throw tied the game at 54. If we don't score that possession, we likely don't beat the 'Hurst.

    2. Gibran Smith's four point play that capped the big run at IUP and took the game from a four point to an eight point lead. That play was the dagger.

    3. Blazek's tie-breaking three in the final minute of the second OT against Slippery Rock. In his 50th minute of play, he sealed the win which sealed an NCAA bid.

    I'm sure there are more ...

    1. mine would be... (using Dicky V's point of view)

      1.) I think first and foremost the adjustments made by Coach Reilly and his coaching staff as well as their ability to get the players to buy in to their system.
      a.) "The X's & O's" --- The additions of RT-E and Smith to the lineup, playing different zone defenses at crucial moments of games to throw a curveball at opponents (which it worked with exception of first half at MC),
      b.) "The Surf and Turfer" --- Blazek back to the PG position (this is nothing against Jabs or Emmitt, but I love the idea of your most dynamic player having the ball in his hands to enable him to make a play; whether it's himself or a teammate).

      2.) "P.T.P.'er" --- Rogerio Livramento @ IUP. Started second half of the game in place of RT-E and finished with career high 25 points, 6 reb, 1 block, 1 steal on 9-10 shooting and 7-7 from the FT line in 32 mins of play (played 16 mins each half).

      3.) "The Knee-Knockers" --- Even though they lost some heartbreakers (WC twice, Cal, etc), they also won their fair share of heartbreakers (IUP 2x, Rock 3x, MC second-time around). These close games, wins and losses, make a team stronger. Winning a close one gives the team the confidence to know that when the game is on the line they have what it takes to pull out a win. Losing a close game, especially in the fashion they did against West Chester both times, should be motivation for the team to realize what they did to lose the game or give it away or what the other team did to win the game or take it from them. This also should make their "want" stronger going forward.

      Speaking of Dick Vitale, Gannon player accolades on Dicky V's "all-star" teams.

      All-AT&T Team - Blazek, Emmitt, Smith
      All-Marco Polo Team - Porter, Smith, Thomas-Edwards
      All-Rip Van Winkle Team - Dogan, Emmitt, Livramento
      All-Volkswagen Team - Emmitt, Livramento, Oldham, Thomas-Edwards
      All-Windex Team - Blazek, Livramento, Oldham, Porter, Thomas-Edwards
      All-World B. Free Team - Rogerio Livramento, Aleksandar Malinic, Jabs Newby, A'Darius Porter, Girbran Smith, Tee Talley, Raphell Tomas-Edwards

    2. Golden: You mean to say that Blazek hit key shots late in key games????......

      Your plays listed were all key!! Amen to each!!

      A big play I remember was at Clarion, with Gannon up by over 15 points.....similar to the picture in the paper recently, Porter made a diving attempt to grab a loose ball and get a time-out. Pure out-hustling the opposition.

      That is what this team is all about.

  12. Speaking of hijacking the board, if Gannon and Edinboro women win Friday, guess who plays whom Saturday at 5PM in the regional semis.......
    Fourth time's the charm?


    Interesting pregame article from the Charleston Gazette including a comparison of GU/UC and common opponents.

    1. Did someone from Charleston or Gannon write that article? haha Does Dan Teliski have a brother that works down in WVA?

      I do like how they focus on Gannon being a tough team and hyping it to be a real good game, but have written off the 8th seed (Livingston.?) already by saying "If Charleston wins the Saturday 8:30PM game they would then take on #1 East Stroudsburg." Obviously, everyone but Livingston fans and associates are picking ESU to win the game, but ask Lock Haven if every ESU game is an auto-loss.

  14. Ironically, the key point in GU's season was when one of their starters (Jabs) got hurt. Coach Reilly must've felt the need to kick up the offense at that point, so he moved Blazek back to pg and replaced Jabs with Smith. He had already worked RTE into the starting lineup and Dogan had been replaced by Talley. Who knows if that would've happened if Jabs doesn't get hurt?

    1. with nothing against Jabs, this is true. Not saying they couldn't have produced the season they did with him, but that started the barrage of lineup changes that have keyed this season.

      Everything happens for a reason.