Thursday, March 3, 2016

CAA Tournament Team By Team Preview

At 6pm on Friday night, with Rodney Williams in the center court circle opposite Brian Dawkins, split by a referee of a certain competence, March Madness will be upon us in the City of Baltimore for one final time.  For the hundreds of fans in the building, the squeak of shoes and swish of the net will welcome them to a time of year that can best be compared to a month full of Christmas Mornings.  In the space below the reader will view the contending teams, the strengths and weaknesses, and will be reminded that no team has ever won four games in four days.  And that records were made to be broken.

Hofstra University

Why they win:  Depth is overrated.  Three great players can make a team great, just look at the NBA.  HU was two first team all-conference players and a second team all-conference player.  That's the roadmap.
Why they don't:  Depth is underrated.  They have one legitimate big man and if he gets in foul trouble all bets are off since no one else on that team enjoys the defensive aspects of the game.
Crazy Stat:  Brian Bernardi has made 40% or more of his three point attempts all three seasons of his college career.  And he wasn't one of their three players to make an all-conference team.
Snarky comment: They may not Juan'ya win enough to play defense.


Why they win:  In a word:  Balance.  Offense to defense and shooter to shooter, no team in the league is nearly as balanced as the Seahawks and that makes them matchup proof.
Why they don't:  They aren't much deeper than Hofstra.  For all of the experience of this team, Chris Flemmings will be facing his first March, and when he didn't have an efficiency rating over 1 this year, UNCW only went 3-2.
Crazy Stat:  Only one team in Division I fouls more often than UNCW (West Virginia)
Snarky comment:  CJ Bryce isn't going to make the Dragons Speak all-rookie team next year either!


Why they win: Because how in the hell are these guys the three seed in the first place?  They're the Donal Trump of the CAA, no one will admit to liking them, but gameday comes and there they go again all winning games and votes and shit.
Why they don't:  Did you read that?  Because of course they can't win!  They can't shoot, aren't great defenders, and rely on games that are fist fights.  And in the CAA Tournament the refs won't let this game get out of hand or turn into a freethrow contes.... wait, now we've got it...
Why they win:  Dennis Alloco, Jerry Heater and Bob Testa
Crazy Stat:  They are 10th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage while playing with a lineup that tends to run 6'6" or below at every position.
Snarky comment:  Gary Neal transferred to Towson for the crabs.

James Madison

Why they win:  The inside out game this team brings is brilliant.  Senior floor general Ron Curry is one of the three best players in the league and he can penetrate and finish, penetrate and dime it to a capable big man who can finish, or penetrate and kick it outside to one of five other Dukes who shoot 33% or better from behind the arc.  With the new defensive rules, if they can draw up a play for one possession at the end of the game, what team can stop that?
Why they don't:  This team never quite came together.  They make critical mistakes and their four home losses are huge warning signs.
Crazy Stat:  They're number one in the country at defending the three point shot, and they only got to play Drexel twice.
Snarky Comment:
  This team has the consistency of a Harrsionburg house party guest at 3am.

William and Mary

Why they win:  They are the best coached team in the conference and have a veteran team that has been deep in the tourney before.  For those that follow the Drexel program, the W&M team and playbook is the men's answer to Denise Dillon's Drexel women's basketball team.  Without question they run the best offensive system in the league.
Why they don't:  Despite the walking, talking counterargument that is Bruiser Flint, some people still think defense wins championships, and the Tribe is below average.  Perhaps more importantly, it will be their point guards first visit to the CAA Tournament and that's a tough spot to have inexperience.
Crazy Stat:  The Tribe is 19th in the country in effective field goal percentage even while having almost 10% of their shot attempts blocked.
Snarky Comment:  Drexel has gone to the NCAA tournament more recently than William and Mary.  Next team please.


Why they win:  Gotta beat the champ to beat the champ.  After being injured for much of the year, Quincy Ford is back and looks reasonably healthy.  NU was 9-5 in conference with a healthy Ford.
Why they don't:  The interior defense and rebounding is weak, at best.  As a result, they will need to win higher scoring games, and it's very rare to see three straight high scoring games in the unfamiliar confines of a tournament setting.
Crazy Stat:  Caleb Donnelly shot 40% from behind the arc this year, a 13% drop from last season.
Snarky Comment:  David Walker is first in the country in not committing fouls.  He's also first in the country at staying outside of arms reach of the guy he's guarding.

College of Charleston

Why they win:  The highest ranked defense that the CAA has seen in over a decade.  The Cougars play fantastic team basketball.
Why they don't:  They aren't very good at making baskets, which seems a key component of the game.  While Cam Johnson comes close, not a single starter averaged a point per possession on offense.  For perspective, all five William and Mary starters beat that mark.
Crazy Stat:  Ultimate team you don't want to play:  They lost to both Drexel and Delaware but also beat Hofstra and swept Towson.  Wildcard!
Snarky Comment:  Charleston hasn't had this little firepower since they tried to defend Fort Sumter.


Why they win:  They like to run and force teams to play their style, which can leave the opposition gasping for air.  Also, Tanner Samson.
Why they don't:  They take more threes than most teams in the country and aren't particularly good at shooting them unless they are playing at the DAC.  With the usual unfriendly tourney rims, live by the three, die by the three doesn't usually play well.
Crazy Stat:  The Phoenix shot 53% from three against Drexel this season and 33% against all other opponents.
Snarky Comment:  Is it still playing four games in four days if you get to play Drexel in the first round?


Why they win:  Maybe it wasn't a dead cat bounce at the end of the season and there was real improvement down the stretch.  Couple that with win one for the gipper mode and a good first round matchup and there's a rosy picture to be had.
Why they don't:  In 14 years of CAA Tournament games, Bruiser Flint's teams can not report a significant upset in a game that involved them winning.
Crazy Stat:  In 14 years of CAA Tournament games, Bruiser Flint's teams can not report a significant upset in a game that involved them winning.
Snarky Comment:  In 14 years of CAA Tournament games, Bruiser Flint's teams can not report a significant upset in a game that involved them winning.


Why they win:  They don't.
Why they don't:  They suck.
Crazy Stat:  Statistically speaking, Kory Holden and Marvin King-Davis are the only two players on the team who play basketball.
Snarky Comment:  Chris Christie had the choice of rooting on his alma mater or spending time with Donald Trump, and he picked Donald Trump.


  1. I'll take Drexel and Charleston tonight.
    Hofstra, JMU, Towson and UNCW tomorrow.
    JMU has the interior strength to possibly get Gustys into foul trouble, they make it to Monday.
    Ultimately think the winner of the bottom half semis will win the whole thing. It's really close in my mind, but Towson reminds me of how Drexel used to be, so that won't work, but they aren't Drexel so it will.
    Keeping my theme that all of our former AE brethren will cut down the nets before we do, Towson beats JMU and dances.

    1. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.