CAA Tournament – Saturday Preview

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Delaware vs UNCW – What a job by Inglesby. Delaware ended the season losing big to William and Mary, College of Charleston, and Elon. They ran into a healthy Hofstra crew who was playing their best at years end. Delaware was down 10 early, trailed 47-39 at half but behind conference Rookie Of The Year Ryan Daly, who had a sick line of 27 pts, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, rallied to beat Hofstra for the first time in 3 tries this season. There were 13 ties and 9 lead changes. Delaware shot 65% in the 2nd half but Inglesby said he was proud of well they defended in the 2nd half. Hofstra shot 38% in 2nd half after shooting 56% in 1st. Inglesby felt the time off got Delaware rested and that they played with renewed energy. Their big win gets them UNCW. In their first meeting in Delaware, UNCW jumped ahead 33-14 but in a preview of the resilience the Hens would show this year, they fought back and got the game tied with 16 to go. UNCW went on to win by 10. Inglesby felt his team together that night. In the rematch, Delaware led 18-17 before UNCW hit a barrage of 3 pointers, ending the night with the insane line of 21-32 3s and a 108-80 win.

Not much to say here. Delaware showed last night especially, that they will be a team to deal with in years to come. UNCW already is that team. Delaware played great at home an lost by 10, They played a game to the wire tonight while UNCW was resting. UNCW has superior talent and rested bodies. The 30 second clock sadly makes things even harder.

UNCW 81 Delaware 60

Elon vs William and Mary – These 2 wrapped up their series on Jan 21 with Elon winning at home 91-82. William and Mary won the first meeting 88-85. Both teams have excellent coaches so no surprise that Elon improved a bit, while William and Mary improved a ton. In the last month, there were times when The Tribe played like the best team in the conference. They got their beautiful offense cranking to create many blow outs, including the top 2 in the league. They have struggled with consistency, a point their genius coach Tony Shaver has talked about often. In their finale they jumped on Towson 31-12 and led 69-47 but barely held on. It shows their potential. It also proves Shaver correct. This team runs crazy good offense. However, not known for their D, Elon is 2nd in the conference and in the top 50 nationally in defending the 3. Who wins out? William and Mary at their best could win this tournament. Elon’s program has steadily got stronger under Matt Matheny but it is still not in the same class as The Tribe, at least not yet. Also William and Mary’s offense is so well run and so efficient that good defenses struggle to stop. Yes, I love Shaver, so there is often bias. In this instance, it is more belief.

William and Mary 84 Elon 71

JMU vs College of Charleston – The 1st meeting was a slugfest in Harrisonburg. College of Charleston rallied from 7 down at the half  before very fortunately winning 53-51. They also wont the rematch at home, this time much easier, 73-60. Last night JMU quickly eliminated Drexel’s 8 pt half time lead, ran out to a 17 pt lead of their own and held on comfortably. However that was vs Drexel who suffered another major meltdown and are a team JMU matches up extremely well with (a fact I refused to let enter my stubborn head).  C of C also got better as the year went on. They took JMU out of everything the last 15 minutes of game 2. JMU struggles to score. College of Charleston is tough to score upon. This is a bad match up for turnover prone and offensively challenged JMU. C of C is well rested too and if JMU does threaten I am sure Earl Grant will have a few new wrinkles to stem the tide.

College of Charleston 68 JMU  53

Towson vs Northeastern – Have to feel for Bill Coen. His young team (starts 3 freshman) was off to a terrific start. They won consecutive games on the road at Vermont, at Michigan St and at Oakland, all 3 who figure to be in the NCAA tournament  this year.  Vermont rarely loses at home. Michigan St is Michigan St. Greg Kampe, in spite of losing Felder, perhaps has his best team ever in Oakland. After that amazing stretch, they won their first 5 conference games. Youth and injuries have derailed what may have been a terrific year. In this weeks conference call, Coach Coen did not reveal the status of his injured players, nor did he comment on Alex Murphy, who missed the last two games for personal reasons. Northeastern basically went with a 6 man rotation the final weekend, Somehow the short roster won in Elon in 2 overtimes before being overwhelmed by UNCW 2 days later. For prediction purposes, I am assuming they get Murphy back and Begley and Miller remain out. Northeastern will for sure need Murphy to counter the very physical Towson team. With him, I think they can score enough to beat yet another Colonial program that is on the rise.

Northeastern 72 Towson 70

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