Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Every Game Matters

It's the penultimate night of the Centennial men's and women's basketball season with only three of the possible 10 playoff berths secured. On the men's side, Franklin & Marshall can clinch the regular-season title and the top seed for the Conference tournament with a win at Gettysburg tonight. McDaniel needs wins against Johns Hopkins and Gettysburg, combined with a pair of F&M losses to keep alive its hopes to get the tournament in Westminster. On the women's side, Muhlenberg locked up the top seed last week and goes for the first 18-0 slate in Conference play in Centennial history. Five teams - Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Gettysburg, Johns Hopkins and McDaniel - have six losses apiece and are fighting for the four remaining playoff spots. We know that the men's and women's chase will come down to Saturday's play but tonight's results may begin to show the contenders and the pretenders.

Women's Basketball
Muhlenberg (16-0 CC, 20-3), ranked 15th by the WBCA and 20th by, looks to become the first CC team to win its first 17 Conference games when it travels to Dickinson (10-6, 13-10). The Mules have won three straight in the series, including a 67-54 decision on Jan. 22 in Allentown, and can tie the all-time series at 18-18 with a victory. The Red Devils have won the last two contests at the Kline Center. Franklin & Marshall (10-6, 13-10) looks for its first season sweep of arch-rival Gettysburg (10-6, 13-10) since 2002 when it visits the Battlefield. The Diplomats knocked off the Bullets, 74-65, back on Jan. 22 but have not won at Bream Gym since that 2002 campaign. Johns Hopkins (10-6, 12-11) plays host to Bryn Mawr (2-21, 0-17), riding a 21-game winning streak against the Owls.

Men's Basketball
Every men's game matters tonight in the race for hosting, seeding and berths in the tournament. Franklin & Marshall (14-2, 21-2), ranked 13th nationally, can wrap up the top seed with a win at Gettysburg (9-7, 14-8). The Bullets, losers of three straight, have taken four in a row from the Diplomats, including a 73-66 win in Lancaster on Jan. 21. It is the 198th meeting between the two long-time foes with Gettysburg holding a 106-91 advantage. McDaniel (12-4, 17-6) visits Johns Hopkins (7-9, 12-11) needing two wins and two F&M losses to keep its hopes for the top seed alive. The Terror defeated the Jays, 65-49, on Jan. 21 for their third win over Hop in the last four games. Hopkins trails both Haverford and Washington by a single game in its quest for fifth place. The Fords (8-8, 11-11) welcome Ursinus (6-10, 10-13) to Gooding Arena, while the Shoremen (8-8, 11-12) visit Swarthmore (1-15, 2-21) in what may be the tightest series in Conference. Four games since 2001 have gone to double-overtime, while six of the last 11 contests have been decided by five points or less. Muhlenberg (10-6, 14-9) can lock up a tournament berth with a win at home against Dickinson (5-11, 11-11). The Mules have won five straight from the Devils at Memorial Hall.

What Can Happen Tonight
  • F&M win or a McDaniel loss gives the Diplomats the #1 seed.
  • A Muhlenberg win gives the Mules a playoff berth.
  • A Gettysburg win and losses by Haverford and Washington gives the Bullets a playoff berth.

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