Saturday, February 7, 2015

Season On The Brink

Gannon's 64-54 loss at #18 Indiana (Pa.) Saturday night felt like Andrew McCutchen swung and hit me in the gut with a 2-by-4. If the Knights had won, they would have been 15-3 in the PSAC West, a game-and-a-half ahead of IUP while holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Crimson Hawks, and very likely to host the PSAC tournament. Also, I think Gannon would have moved up a notch in the soon-to-be-released regional rankings, separating themselves from the 12 other Atlantic Region teams with 6, 7, or 8 in-region losses.

Instead Gannon is now 14-4 in the West, looking up at 14-3 IUP. Of Indiana's remaining 5 games -- at Mercyhurst, at Edinboro, vs. Slippery Rock, at Pitt-Johnstown, and vs. Clarion -- I feel the only realistic loss could occur vs. the Lakers. Gannon's final four PSAC games are at Clarion, vs. UPJ, at Cal, and vs. Seton Hill. It looks like to win the West and host the PSAC playoffs, Gannon needs help from Mercyhurst and has to run the table ... against a schedule that includes two teams they've lost to already (UPJ and Cal). Insert jumping over tall wall metaphor here.

As far as the region, according to the most recent Atlantic Region Performance Indicators (click here and scroll down for the chart), Gannon dropped to 7th on Saturday. Additionally, the Knights have a Feb. 18 game at Le Moyne which, because the Dolphins are in an adjoining state, counts as a regional game. In case you forgot, Gannon dropped a 47-45 Gary Miller Classic contest to Le Moyne in late November, so this second game is going to be a monumental challenge for sure. Adam Blazek might have to learn how to do this to jump over that tall wall.

The way I see it, at 15-8 in the region, Gannon has to win 4 of its 5 remaining regular season games and at least 1 PSAC playoff game to finish 20-10 and have any shot at the NCAA playoffs. Two regular season losses would mean the Knights would have to get to the PSAC finals if not win the whole shebang to qualify.

Had Gannon won at IUP, we'd be on the brink of hosting the PSAC playoffs, which historically has been a smooth path to the NCAAs. Instead, Gannon is on the brink of elimination.


  1. Not a banner Saturday for the GU hoops teams. IUP gets the two-game sweep in two different cities. :-(

  2. Congrats to Herb Magee for his 1,000th win, a few coming against GU. He was a big rival in the days of the old MCC, but you gotta respect his accomplishments. I vividly remember the 1986 GU / Textile matchup that aired shortly after Burger King's I'm Not Herb Super Bowl ad in which all the fans wore sweatsuits and showered the court with Whopper Boxes when Magee was introduced.

    Nice SportsCenter interview with Herb in the link below.

  3. Did the GU ladies play an alumni game at 12 on Saturday, the same day as the big IUP game?
    Whose idea was that? Sounds dumb to me.
    I know its a fun type game but athletes are competitive and they naturally put out.
    I don't 3hrs is enough time for the legs to recover.
    Could that have showed during the IUP game?
    After a TO, IUP came bouncing out and GU stood there with there hands on their hips sucking wind.
    Just an observation.

    1. I think that the alumni just played against each other and the seniors served as team coaches. The current players did not participate.

      Given the actual facts, I do not think that the idea was "dumb." It's a nice way to honor the history of the team and it was good to see some of the alumni at the game. I am also told that the team has been fighting sickness.

      I think that IUP is a better team and it showed yesterday. We did not play well. IUP neutralized Nettie, who was not able to catch the ball in position to make easy shots, as she has been over the past month or so.

    2. Thanks for the "clear up".
      Someone told me it was Alums against the current team. If I'd known I would have attended the game.
      No doubt. IUP left GU at the bus stop.
      We looked hesitant on some open shoots.
      I thought that IUP set their defense on the big circle keeping GU away from that normal 3pt shooting range,
      where as GU set their defense just in the arc allowing IUP to shoot from just on the 3pt line.
      Just what I saw but what do I know, I never played the game.

  4. Here is the Indiana Gazette's coverage of the GU/IUP game:,21467987/


  5. Please, don't anybody get me wrong: IUP is a very good basketball team. Having said that, we were in a position to win essentially the entire game, despite over 20 turnovers. It was one of those games in which it was difficult to get over the 4-6 point hump. I'm of the opinion IUP will have a bit of trouble in at least one or two games down the stretch. This years team seems to shoot a few more 3 pointers than past editions. If they get a little cold.........

    Meanwhile, next up, Clarion, is not to be overlooked: For the first time in several seasons, they are playing harder, more unselfish basketball. It doesn't show up in the won-loss record, but, they will be giving us their best shot Wednesday. And, they will get ours.

    If any squad can get to the NCAA's under the probable guidlines outlined above, it is this group.

    1. TO's really didn't play big into the result because of Gannon's stifling defense... if you took away all TO's on both sides - I believe it removes 22 of IUP's points and 18 or 20 of Gannon's points. So that's still a 6-8 point loss.

      IUP adjusted at halftime and played much harder on the boards in the second half. I believe they had NO offensive boards in the first half and, I don't know what their final total was, but I know they had 3-4 in the first few minutes of the second half alone. Mix that "want" with the 32+ foot bombs they hit late... it's a loss every time. Gannon could've had 40 TOs and still won, but when you have 2 guys defending a player and he STILL makes a 3 from practically half court... there's no stopping "luck". Not saying IUP isn't good, but to make that many long bombs that late with defenders hard up on you... that does take a little luck.

      Regardless of how this season plays out, I can say that this is the one group of players I am going to miss the absolute most! The passion and enthusiasm that RT-E, Austin and AD show after they or another teammate hits a big shot, gets an and one, makes a great defensive stop, or hustles for a loose ball... it's so fun to watch. The smoothness of Smith as he glides to the hoop or stops and pops is beautiful art. The "ooh and awe" plays that Blazek makes get the heart pounding. The big shots that Toupane has hit makes you scream "yeahhhh!!" Seeing a player come off the bench, if even for a minute, and make a big play and then enthusiastically celebrate the play with their teammates is awesome. The best though... the enthusiasm of the players on the bench. Never a head down, never anyone shaking their head after being taken out, you don't see players pointing the finger at another teammate... it's always "my bad!" and most of the time both players involved say "may bad!" (even if a play was clearly the mistake of anothers). That is so amazing to see nowadays when most players are all about the spotlight, the chance for the "big league", etc. Not these kids! They are a team... team first always.

      This will be one of the saddest Senior Nights that I can think of since Steve Moyer's Senior Night.

  6. This is a non-binding poll. I'm curious for the real regional rankings.

    Gannon Men's Basketball Team Ranked 10th in Latest D2SIDA Atlantic Region Media Poll