The Rams won their quarterfinal game over Bloomsburg, 99-89, setting up a PSAC semifinal featuring two teams
Again, I still think Gannon is likely to get in because the Mountain East teams will hurt each other in their league tourney, but if the Knights lose to West Chester, the Rams will
LOCKS (4): West Liberty, East Stroudsburg, IUP, Livingstone (CIAA champ)
NEXT THREE IN AS OF NOW (3): Charleston, Gannon, West Chester
FIGHTING FOR THE FINAL SPOT (3): Shepherd, Glenville, Fairmont
HOPING TO MAKE A RUN AND STEAL THE FINAL SPOT (2): West Va. Wesleyan, Mercyhurst
[Side note: West Va. Wesleyan's season almost imploded tonight in their Mountain East first round playoff game, hitting two free throws with :01 on the clock to beat now 0-27 Urbana, 79-77]
So you can see how Gannon could possibly get squeezed out -- lose to West Chester, Fairmont wins its quarterfinal then shocks West Liberty in the semifinal, Charleston wins its quarterfinal, and the Glenville/Shepherd winner gets past Charleston to the Mountain East championship. That means the 8 spots could go to WLU, ESU, IUP, Livingstone, Charleston, WCU, Fairmont, and either Glenville or Shepherd. Again, if Mercyhurst steals the PSAC ... okay, I don't even want to think about that happening by itself, let alone keeping Gannon out of the NCAAs.
Wow, I've written 400 words and almost none of them have been about the most exciting and most important game of the year. Do I praise Adam Blazek's clutch 3 and team-high 25 points? Do I pull my hair out over Gannon's 3-for-12 three-point shooting chart or getting annihilated on the boards, 48-29? Do I praise the team for committing only 9 turnovers in 50 minutes of play? Hail Brandon Emmitt for saving the season (and his collegiate career) with his perfect free throw chart in the second OT?
Why don't you take it from here. I'm still a combination of stressed out and overjoyed because Gannon turned the tables this year, advancing in the PSAC tourney and ending Slippery Rock's season.
UPDATED 3/5/14: The Atlantic Region rankings were released this afternoon. Here's the list (team, overall record, region record) followed by some snap analysis. The records do not include Tuesday night's games.
1. West Liberty (22-2, 21-2): W vs. Notre Dame Oh., Sat. vs. #6 Fairmont
2. East Stroudsburg (24-1, 24-1): W vs. Millersville, Sat. vs. Mercyhurst
3. Indiana Pa. (23-3 23-3): L vs. Mercyhurst
4. Charleston W.V. (18-8, 18-8): W vs. Wheeling Jesuit, Sat. vs. #8 Glenville
5. Gannon (18-8, 18-8): W vs. Slippery Rock, Sat. vs. West Chester
6. Fairmont State (17-9, 17-9): W vs. #9 West Va. Wesleyan, Sat. vs. #1 West Liberty
7. Shepherd (19-9, 19-9): W vs. Concord, L vs. #8 Glenville State
8. Glenville State (17-9, 17-9): W vs. #7 Shepherd, Sat. vs. #4 Charleston
9. West Virginia Wesleyan (17-11, 17-11): W vs. Urbana, L vs. #6 Fairmont
10. Livingstone (19-7, 19-6): CIAA tournament champions
Dropped out: West Chester (18-9, 18-9)
First, it's great to see Gannon move up a spot and Shepherd drop only two spots to 7th after their two losses last week. That makes me think the gap between the Knights and the teams ranked 8-10 is fairly wide. The part of the poll that completely perplexes me is West Chester falling from 7th to 11th at best after a narrow loss to #2 Stroud. That's pretty unforgiving.
I talked about Gannon/West Chester possibly being a play-in game, but that's almost certainly the case for Saturday's Shepherd/Glenville State game. Livingstone won the CIAA tournament, so you have to be 7th in the final poll to make the NCAA's. The Shepherd/Glenville loser will be out for sure.
The most losses Gannon will end up with before the NCAA's is 9. The four Mountain East teams behind them in the poll all have at least 9 losses, and three of them will pick up at least one more L in their conference tournament. Two of them won't make it past Friday's quarterfinals because they play each other head-to-head in that round.