The wide open Colonial Athletic Association tournament begins today, with the play in round. They start this thing on a Saturday now. As always, I shall write a few words on each game.
I am going for four years in a row of choosing the loser. An argument could be made for any number of teams. Hofstra played to my highest power rating, Northeastern has Bill Coen, College of Charleston has Grant Riller , William and Mary has Nathan Knight and Drexel has, aaaaaaah, well, they have Alwaysadragon.com to keep you posted on their progress.
UNCW vs Drexel- Drexel had an up and down beginning to the season. Their good games were very good, though, good enough that i felt they were a threat to win the automatic bid. Drexel had an excellent chance at avoiding the play in round but lost every key game. Coach Zach Spiker disappointed me with a lack of creativity. Drexel rarely is going to win a game with athleticism, so it is important for a coach to keep your opponent guessing or off guard. Running the same stuff, will not accomplish either.
Even worse, when it was apparent they were destined for the play in round, he continued to use his starters, instead of giving more minutes to reserves. Cam Wynter played 40 minutes for four consecutive games. What good could come of that?
UNCW lost several players for various reasons. Unlike the Athletic Director at William and Mary, UNCW fired their coach for the right reasons. CB McGrath, from the Roy Williams school of coaching did a terrible job. His teams were ill prepared at all times. After an unsuccessful non-conference schedule and an 0-7 start in conference, Rob Burke was moved up and became interim coach. He has done a terrific job.
Burke has schemed creatively. The team has gone five and seven since he took over. They have wins over Northeastern, College of Charleston and William and Mary. He has done enough to be the permanent coach, although, I believe they will go elsewhere.
In the first meeting between these schools, with McGrath coaching, Cam Wynter took over in the last five minutes leading Drexel to a 71-66 win. Last week in the rematch, UNCW shot 68% in the second half to come from five down at the half and win 76-65.
Who wins the rubber match? The Dub has improved a ton under Burke, while Drexel is headed in the wrong direction. However, the conference tournament is a fresh start for all. I mentioned when Drexel was good early, they were very good. I expect Drexel to return to that level, if so, unless Spiker is completely outcoached, which is a possibility, the Dragons are too good for UNCW.
Drexel 72 UNCW 65
JMU vs Elon – The 2020 CAA Tournament will be Louis Rowes final one at James Madison. His tenure at JMU as Head Coach has been a failure. He constantly takes upper level talent and finishes in the bottom half. On the opposing bench today, Elon’s new coach Mike Schrage has done an excellent job. HIs young team has improved a ton as the year has gone. Elon is building something good. They could be a major danger in the Colonial for the next many years.
Elon beat James Madison both times these teams played this year. During the season, James Madison free fell while Elon got better, but again, the conference tournament is a new lease on life. James Madison has underachieved big time. Perhaps with no expectations, they will play freely. Elon has a massive coaching edge but I think JMU is going to play at least one good game, before they find a new coach.
JMU 78 Elon 75