American River College’s men’s basketball team has reached the playoffs, seeded 16 in the brackets released on Tuesday that denoted the seeding of every qualifying team and the playoff schedule.
ARC will host Foothill College, the 17 seed, in a play-in playoff game tonight at 7 p.m. at ARC, with the winner then scheduled to travel to Fresno City College on Saturday night to face the top seeded team in Northern California.
ARC and Foothill did not meet in the regular season, so the two teams will be playing a fresh matchup in a big game that decides their respective playoff hopes.
ARC finished the season with an overall record of 15-10, and finished .500 in conference play at 7-7.
Foothill finished the season 12-16 overall, and below .500 in conference play at 5-7.
ARC lost four of its last six games over the final three weeks of the season, leaving the team’s playoff hopes up in the air over the weekend.
After Friday’s loss at San Joaquin Delta College to finish the regular season, many of the players were seen on the court with dejected looks on their faces.
“It just sucks to know that this is it. Or it might be,” said center Eugene Crockett following the loss to SJDC.
Other players on the team had similar reactions.
“A win (at SJDC) would’ve been a last conference win for our sophomores, secured a playoff spot,” said forward Austin Lobo. “Just knowing its up in the air has left us a little bit salty.”
According to ARC head coach Mark Giorgi, the team had “a 99 percent chance” at a playoff spot with a win on Friday, but those chances would drop to “50-50” with a loss.
“If you win, we’re not sitting around wondering if you’re in the playoffs or not,” Giorgi said. “If you lose, you leave it in the hands of six other human beings, and who knows what they’re thinking.”
Despite the jumbled standings to finish the season, ARC was selected as one of the teams to participate in the play-in game, with the official playoff brackets released shortly after 5 p.m. yesterday.
Now the team will focus on winning the play-in game, before a chance to face top seeded Fresno in the first round.
Giorgi described the matchup tonight “really tough”.
“They’re small. Its gonna be a tough matchup defensively for us,” said Giorgi, adding that Foothill is in the toughest conference in the state.