Mercer might have had one serious post-practice prayer Saturday, because things went well for the Bears.
And they didnt play.
USC Upstates loss to Jacksonville and East Tennessee States win over North Florida improved Mercers chances in the A-Sun tournament tiebreaker scenario for the top seed.
The higher seeds host each game throughout the tournament, which begins March 4, so No. 1 has a major home-court advantage toward getting the conferences automatic NCAA tournament bid.
Mercers 75-61 loss Friday to Florida Gulf Coast dropped the Bears into a tie for first with the Eagles. It stayed that way as the co-leaders won Sunday.
Mercer struggled early, but took off in the second half for a 73-52 win over Stetson. The game started about 30 minutes before Kennesaw States visit to Florida Gulf Coast on senior day, and the Eagles were a little flat after Fridays win and had to battle to finally survive for a 78-68 win over the Owls.
The first tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed is the teams record against the third-place team.
Entering Saturday, Florida Gulf Coasts odds for the top seed were markedly better, because it got the tiebreaker if either USC Upstate or North Florida finished third. Mercer would get the top seed if ETSU finishes third.
USC Upstate had a one-game lead at the time over ETSU, but theyre now tied. Now, things are simple. Whoever wins Friday between the Spartans and Bucs gets third and clarifies the top-seed tiebreaker if theres still a tie.
All thats set entering the final week is that Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast are at home for the first tournament game, and that theyre joined in the tournament by ETSU, USC Upstate, Lipscomb, North Florida and Jacksonville. Stetson has a two-game lead over Kennesaw State with two games left for the final spot.
If Mercer and Florida Gulf Coast win Thursday, theyll know before Saturdays tipoff who will be the top seed if they take care of business.
The only other thing set is that the top two seeds wont play USC Upstate, ETSU, Lipscomb or North Florida in the first round.
All of Saturdays games are early, so travel plans can start being made before dinner.
Florida Gulf Coast at Lipscomb, 7 p.m.: The Bisons are 8-6 since their 13-point loss to the Eagles on Jan. 1 but are only 5-5 at home this season.
North Florida at Mercer, 7 p.m.: The Ospreys led by 28 in the first meeting before Mercers backups stormed back for a six-point loss.
ETSU at USC Upstate, 7 p.m.: USC Upstate won 75-63 on Feb. 10, but ETSU then beat Florida Gulf Coast and hammered Stetson right after.
Stetson at Lipscomb, 11 a.m.: If Lipscomb upends Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday, the Bisons will be playing to tie for fourth.
Jacksonville at Mercer, 1 p.m.: Stating the obvious, depending on what hass happened. What if senior day is for the top seed?
Florida Gulf Coast at Northern Kentucky, 1 p.m.: Stating the obvious, depending on what has happened. Could the lone team ineligible for the tournament still greatly impact the tournament with an upset?
North Florida at Kennesaw State, 1 p.m.: If North Florida upsets Mercer on Thursday, the Ospreys will be playing to tie for fourth.