IUP will host the PSAC men's basketball semifinal round tonight and championship game Saturday, and the Crimson Hawks will try to win the PSAC title for the third time in four years.
IUP has been to the semifinals four years in a row, but lost there last season to West Chester, 54-51. The Crimson Hawks have a chance to avenge that loss, as the two teams meet again at approximately 7:30 p.m. today in the second semifinal.
The Crimson Hawks (20-5), who advanced to the semifinals courtesy of an 89-87 overtime win against Edinboro in the quarterfinals, already beat West Chester once this season, 71-52, but that was Dec. 2 and both teams have evolved since then.
IUP won the PSAC title in 2010 and 2011, and West Chester lost in the final last season to East Stroudsburg, so both teams have plenty of experience in the tournament.
The first game of tonight's doubleheader matches Slippery Rock and defending champion East Stroudsburg. The Warriors can become just the third team to repeat as PSAC champions in the past 30 years, joining IUP and Edinboro, which won the title in 2005 and again in 2006.
East Stroudsburg beat Slippery Rock, 84-72, earlier this season, so the Rock will have their work cut out for them against the top scoring team in the PSAC (79 points per game).
Both games will be a clash of styles, as IUP and Slippery Rock rank No. 2 and No. 4 in the PSAC in scoring defense, and West Chester and East Stroudsburg are the conference's two highest scoring teams.
PSAC women semifinals
On the other side of the state at Bloomsburg, the PSAC women's basketball championship also will be decided tonight and Saturday.
And the Erie area will try to bring home the PSAC title for the fourth consecutive season, as Gannon and Edinboro are still alive. One or the other has won the championship each of the past three seasons.
Edinboro is the two-time defending champion and faces Bloomsburg in the second semifinal, a rematch of last year's championship game, at approximately 7:30 p.m today.
The Fighting Scots won that game, 74-58, but earlier this season the two teams met and the story was much different as Bloomsburg blew out Edinboro, 84-59.
The first semifinal, starting at 5:30, has Gannon, the top seed in the PSAC West, playing Millersville in a game that should be entertaining and competitive. The two teams met earlier this season and Gannon won, 78-76.
Gannon (24-3), which won the PSAC title in 2010 and also went to the NCAA Division II semifinals that season, has won six in a row, all by double digits.
Local players honored
The PSAC announced its men's basketball all-conference teams and several players from the area were honored.
Edinboro senior Isaiah Prince (Imani Christian) and Slippery Rock's Devin Taylor (New Castle) were named first-team All-PSAC West, and Millersville senior Elijah Obade (Charleroi) was named first-team All-PSAC East.
Slippery Rock senior Gerald Brooks (Schenley) was named to the PSAC West second team.
Stellar start for Thiel pitcher
Baseball and softball have started and several area teams and players are off to a great start.
That includes Thiel senior pitcher Nick Rossmiller, who threw a complete-game, three-hit shutout on opening day Sunday against Finlandia University at a tournament in Fort Myers, Fla.
Rossmiller had a no-hitter through six innings, struck out 12 and walked just one as he led the Tomcats to an easy 6-0 win.
He was named the Presidents' Athletic Conference pitcher of the week and the NCAA Division III player of the week.
Paul Zeise: email@example.com and Twitter @paulzeise.