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.
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.
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.