GW’s 92-88 overtime win went a long way to keeping their postseason dreams afloat, but a lot has to happen before anyone can start making reservations for Atlantic City.
The come-from-behind, grind-it-out victory was a lesson in the rewards of resilience that will serve them well should they stray from their oft-stated mission to take things one game at a time and instead glance at the conference standings.
The Colonials (9-16, 3-10 Atlantic 10) have little wiggle room the rest of the way if they hope to make the trip for March’s A-10 tournament. GW currently sits in the conference’s 13th place, one game behind Charlotte for the final spot in the A-10’s 12-team postseason championship.
“It was a win that kind of keeps us involved, keeps us in the race,” head coach Karl Hobbs said of Wednesday’s victory. “It’ll allow us to go into the next game knowing that we still have an opportunity.”
That opportunity, however, remains fragile. Simply catching the 49ers in the standings will not suffice. Because Charlotte likely owns the deciding tiebreaker over the Colonials by way of defeating conference top dogs No. 19/22 Xavier (AP, ESPN/USA Today) and Dayton, GW will have to surpass them. It will be no easy task to achieve in just three games; even if the Colonials go undefeated down the stretch, they will need the 49ers to drop two of three.
Leap-frogging Charlotte, of course, is not GW’s only option. St. Bonaventure and Massachusetts each sit two games ahead of the Colonials. GW already owns a head-to-head advantage over the Bonnies, having defeated them last Thursday, and gets the opportunity to make up a game against the Minutemen as the two clash March 3 in Amherst, Mass.
As with Charlotte, the Colonials will need to make up two games in the standings with either of these teams, meaning they will need to sweep the final trio of contests or pray either St. Bonaventure or Massachusetts loses out.
All of this may sound confusing, but at their most basic, GW’s hopes are pinned on winning. Maybe the 49ers will fail to bounce back from a defeat as strenuous as Wednesday’s and go winless the rest of the way. Maybe the Bonnies will return to their recent history of futility and falter down the stretch. Maybe Massachusetts, losers of seven of its last 10, will continue to limp toward the finish line.
But no matter what, none of it will happen unless GW keeps winning. They have struggled to sustain success this year, not having put together consecutive victories since December. Things may not appear too optimistic for GW’s postseason chances, but if Wednesday’s game showed anything, it’s that it’s never too late for a turnaround.