Friday, March 2, 2007

CAA Tournament Preview

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The Colonial Athletic Associated had another extremely underrated season this year. A year after getting two NCAA bids and George Mason to the Final Four, the CAA has four teams capable of winning the conference tournament. VCU won the league at 16-2, but Old Dominion was only one game back of them, and Hofstra and Drexel finished two and three games back, respectively. This tourney will also have plenty of at-large implications, as no team is a lock for the NCAA Tournament.

Favorites: Despite the fact that VCU won the conference and lost only two league games, they might not be the clear-cut favorite. However, the Rams shouldn’t be overlooked just because they lost three of their final eight games. VCU owns one of the best mid-major perimeter trios in the country, with Eric Maynor leading the way. He is a terrific point guard who can get into the lane on anyone, while wings B.A. Walker and Jesse Pellot-Rosa are also good scorers. Inside, Wil Fameni has a nice touch. Old Dominion might come into the league tourney as the team to beat. They have won 11 in a row heading into March, including wins over each of the other top teams in the CAA. The Monarchs are led by forward Valdas Vasylius, who is a very good inside-outside scorer. Drew Williamson and Brian Henderson form an experienced backcourt, while Brandon Johnson is an underrated guard. Arnaud Dahi is a tough match-up in the frontcourt.

Contenders: Hofstra came into the season as the preseason favorite, but three straight losses to open the year put a damper on those expectations. However, they went 14-4 in league play, with wins over each of the other three top teams. They own one of the best backcourts in the country in wings Loren Stokes and Antoine Agudio, and point guard Carlos Rivera. Stokes is tough going to the basket, Agudio is an excellent shooter, and Rivera can do a little of everything. Those three do-it-all for the Pride, and will have to carry Hofstra for them to win. Drexel has arguably the best non-conference resume of any team in the CAA, but their fourth-place finish hurts their profile. They have won six of seven heading into March. Frank Elegar is one of the best big men in the conference, while senior guards Dominick Mejia and Bashir Mason form an experienced and talented backcourt. Chaz Crawford is one of the best shot-blockers and rebounders in the CAA.

Sleeper: Northeastern went only 4-9 in non-conference play and started 5-8 in the CAA, but the Huskies won five of their last six games to get to .500 in the standings. They own a good perimeter trio in seniors Adrian Martinez and Bobby Kelly, as well as freshman Matt Janning, who can do a little of everything. Senior post player Bennet Davis is one of the better big men in the CAA.

Prediction: The CAA is going to feature one of the most competitive semi-finals of any conference in the country, providing the top four teams hold serve in the first round. After that, it’s anyone’s automatic bid to win. With the tournament being played in Richmond, I think that VCU has an advantage over Drexel in one semi-final, while Old Dominion is playing outstanding basketball and has the huge frontcourt edge over Hofstra in the other one. In the final, Virginia Commonwealth has the perimeter advantage on ODU and the depth to wear them down. That, and the fact that VCU will be at home, will give the Rams the automatic bid.


  1. your a dick odu has no chance against vcu

  2. good idea vcu has the edge on everyone else

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