Friday, March 6, 2015

CAA Tournament - Charleston - Preview

You can take the CAA out of the South, but you can't take the rockfight out of the CAA

And on the 8th Day, they drove to Baltimore.

For the last 12 years, on this weekend, I've joined my friends, hopped in a bus or car, and headed to Richmond or Baltimore.  I've met some of my closest friends on these trips, I've met some fantastic fans of other schools and VCU fans too (though I've still never seen a UD fan under 50 years of age). I've even met the people who inspired me to start writing on these electronic pages a couple of years ago.  Little known fact, this blog actually started when I began commenting on the pages of much better writers than I.  I've never been a guy who tries to bloom his rolodex, and at one point I was a quiet kid (some folk wish I still was), but all of these people are very much an influence on my life today, and I wanted to take this time to be thankful for this holiday we have.  It's not MARCH MADNESS, it's our madness, and I'm very thankful for those who I will see once again, those who I won't, and especially for those that I will meet for the first time.

Welcome to the conference tournament where none of the schools are close and all of the people are.

Family Tradition also speaks well to today 
because if this is your first time in the Tradition, you must fight.  Rockfight actually, which is a CAA tradition from Bruiser's first full recruiting class  in the league.  And at 8:30 tonight, we will have a doozy.

From Kenpom's 'Week in Review VII', and gloriously posted with his permission:

Slowest game: #285 Drexel 53, #235 College of Charleston 51 [48], Saturday. On the other 
end of the speed spectrum, Drexel played its second sub-50 possession game of the season. 
They got a 3 from Damion Lee with 17 seconds left to earn the victory.

Oh yes, the slowest game in the entire country that week went to DU/ C of C.  The following matchup featured a whopping 54 possessions.  Pretty basketball?  I mean, if four corners floats your boat and you're into that kinda thing, well then, still no.  The good news is aplenty for Drexel, and it begins with this nugget:  In games of 56 possessions or less this year, the Dragons are 6-0.  Now, those Dragon teams featured more players, included Damion Lee, and those wins were against... Towson.  Twice.  Charleston.  Twice.  Southern Miss, and...  interesting... William and Mary.  And that team only had 7 guys and no Damion Lee.

It's no secret that this Dragons team can't afford to run.  And the less possessions the less fouls, which also benefits DU, since playing with 4 guys is hard.  Charleston doesn't run.  As in, Charleston plays one of the slowest games in all of DI.  Music to Bruiser Flint's ears.  And he needs that music.  Because while Charleston has struggled all year, they've still got a lot that scares an opposing coach.  Seniors.  Shooters.  Nothing to Lose.

And that's the thing with this Charleston team.  They had the pieces.  Shooters in Canyon Barry and Cameron Johnson.  A very legitimate big man in Adjehi Baru.  Chealey has been a very good point guard in this league.  The pieces just never added up.  Normally this is where we point to a coach, but in this case it falls on the Athletic Director.  The late offseason firing of Doug Wojcik set this team up to fail but this goes well beyond that.  As the outstanding @King_Kresse pointed out to me, the seniors on this team have played for 4 coaches.  It's tough to mature and grow in a system when it's a different season every season.  That and accumulating knocks on Baru have added up to a class of seniors whose numbers don't nearly state their talent level, in much the same way as I spoke of Tavon Allen two weeks ago.  It not fun to watch from afar, and it's tough to imagine it's not much worse to watch as a Cougars fan.  The Cougs went 1-16 against top 200 teams this year, and Drexel is playing like a top 200 team (yes, it's like 199th).

Both of these teams have some exciting young talent.  Barry, Chealey, Gilmore and Johnson on one side, names like London, Williams, Bah and Mojica on the other.  All of these guys have played wire the wire this year and are the foundation of very bright futures, and in two years these squads could be playing each other on Monday night rather than Friday.  But for this year, it's a bad matchup for the Cougars.

Drexel Game

Prediction:  Drexel 51 - Charleston 43
Bold Prediction:  One teams score is in the teens at halftime
Vegas Line:  Charleston -1.5

Other CAA Games

Prediction:  Elon 64, Towson 58

Alan Boston's Notes:

With all the injuries, it is very difficult to answer, who is Drexel? Are they the team that got drilled at home by bottom feeder Delaware? Are they the team that won easily at first place William & Mary? Probably they are neither. One thing the injuries have done and both Dan and I have hammered this point home, is that Drexel was forced to play basketball, Drexel style. Rebound, play defense and limit turnovers. Sure, their half court offense will still be shaky at best, but Drexel has had a ton of success with that formula.  C of C is the type of team I typically like to bet on in conference tournaments. They were big time underachievers during the season, but C of C could not beat Northeastern in their last home game and failed in many good spots, so I do not think they have it in them, to return to the level that the Charleston program typically plays to. Drexel beat them both games during conference and if they play their game should do it again.

Drexel Game

Prediction: Drexel 52 - C of C 50

Other CAA Games

Also Elon 53 Towson 50

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