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A look at the rest of the CAA, it's not pretty

George Mason Basketball: A look at the rest of the CAA, it's not pretty

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A look at the rest of the CAA, it's not pretty

It's no secret that CAA basketball has been atrocious this year. As of today, the league has one top 150 RPI team, George Mason (81), and is collectively 3-44 versus the top 100. The CAA's current RPI rank is 24th, in the past it would hover somewhere around 12-15. The real sad part of this season was that the multiple bid talk was pretty much over in mid-November.

On media day, the top four teams selected in the predicted order of finish were Drexel, Delaware, George Mason, and ODU. Mason is the only one currently with a winning record, the rest of them are a combined 7-25. All four have blown chances for quality wins with only a few being close games. In years prior it was the league's top four teams that usually beefed up the profile by snagging some wins versus the bigger conferences, not so much this year.

ODU's 1-10 record stands out the most and have been the league's biggest disappointment. I've never seen a Blaine Taylor coached team play such awful defense. The shooting numbers they are yielding to opponents this season are crazy bad. Did losing their chance at winning the CAA title damage this team's spirits this badly? I hope their fans enjoy Conference USA football. 

Drexel would be next on the biggest disappointment list but they at least have had injuries derail them. Losing Chris Fouch hurt but they weren't looking all that hot when he was on the floor anyway. Of their three wins, two were very close games against Ivy league schools not named Harvard. The losses to Rider, Tennessee State, and Fairfield are just unacceptable for a team picked to win the CAA. They could be the one team that bounces back from a poor non-conference showing and does well in the CAA though. However they have a lot of problems to overcome before that happens. 

William and Mary is the only other team besides Mason with a winning record but they haven't beaten anyone worthwhile. It's still crazy to think that they might be Mason's biggest competition in the CAA but believe it. The Tribe's effective FG%, a stat that differs from conventional FG% by taking into account the extra value of a made 3-pointer, is 53.5 (31st in the nation according to Kenpom). Bad competition or not, that's an impressive feat after nine games. When you consider how poorly Mason has done against quality outside shooting teams, N. Iowa being the most recent example, this has to be a concern for the Patriots. The game against them on January 5th could an interesting one to watch.

Dark horses that could emerge in the conference are Delaware, James Madison and Northeastern. Delaware has two first team All-CAA players in their starting lineup but just can't seem to put it together. Like Drexel they may right the ship a bit as the season goes on. James Madison has been playing better recently and would have a winning record if not for one point losses to GW and Richmond. They have some talent on their roster but head coach Matt Brady always seems to screw it up. Northeastern is currently on a five game losing streak but I like what they have in their backcourt, seniors Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith. They probably aren't good enough to challenge for the league title but they will cause a few upsets. 


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