PLATTSBURGH — The Plattsburgh State men’s basketball team’s first goal this season was to clinch a spot in the SUNY Athletic Conference Tournament.
The Cardinals’ next goal was to secure a home game at Memorial Hall in the opening round of the tournament.
Mission also accomplished.
Now what’s next for Plattsburgh?
“We want to finish at least second in the standings and get a bye in the first round of the playoffs,” said Plattsburgh coach Tom Curle.
The Cardinals have three regular season conference games remaining — all at home. First up is rival Potsdam at 8 p.m. tonight, followed by first-place Cortland and Oswego over the weekend.
Plattsburgh (15-7, 11-4) currently trails Cortland, which is 13-2 in the conference, by two games.
The Cardinals, however, have a 2-game lead in the loss column over both Geneseo (10-6) and Oswego (9-6) in the race for second.
The format has been changed this year to only six teams making the conference playoffs and, ironically, Plattsburgh may wind up without a home playoff game.
“The two top teams in the standings get byes in the opening round, while the third seed hosts the sixth seed and the fourth seed hosts the fifth seed,” said Curle. “If we finish in second, we would be the only one of the top four teams not to host a playoff game. That’s why I don’t like the new format.
“The semifinals and finals are played at the site of the first seed. But, I don’t mind getting the bye in the first round.”
The Cardinals need to win two of their three remaining games to clinch second.
In order to finish in first, Plattsburgh would need to win out, including a victory over Cortland this weekend, and get some help from either New Paltz or Potsdam.