Thursday, December 3, 2009

Maybe things aren't much different

With an upcoming sprinkled conference game coming up this Saturday for CAA teams, many believed it imperative to enter their first conference game on the right foot. In the preseason the first weekend was not figured to feature any "marquee" conference games, with the predicted upper-half of the league playing mostly lower-half of the league teams. However, the league may have backed into the top-two teams, William and Mary and VCU playing each other on Saturday. More on that Friday, but some reaction from the CAA non-conference games this week.

- Delaware State 75
Delaware 67

Remember, just two seasons ago when Monte Ross had Delaware atop the CAA standings early in the season with a win over eventual champion George Mason?? Those days are long gone. The Blue Hens dropped one Tuesday night, they fall to 1-5, their only victory over Ivy League Penn. Alphonso Dawson picked up a technical foul Tuesday night really showing his frustration as the Blue Hens have the worst record in the league. Delaware shot 57%...when they got shots off. The Blue Hens had 20 turnovers and let Delaware State get to the line for 40 attempts. They fouled 27 times! Now, they are on the road playing a MEAC team, so did they get hosed? Witnessing games at Hampton before, I would not be shocked. Nevertheless, a dangerous theme is developing for Delaware, the inability to defend and take care of the ball...evidence of a young team without much leadership.
Dozier Deduction: Dawson must cool down and seize control of this team before there is no turning back.

- Providence 76
Northeastern 72

Telling stat: Chaisson Allen 6-15 from the field, Matt Janning 6-11. No, the telling stat is not that the Northeastern backcourt was only 12-26, it's Allen's shot selection. Allen did have four assists, but he should not be able to lift up 15 shots in a game against a Big East opponent. Janning finishes with 18, Allen with 13. Bill Coen needs to stress how good Matt Janning is to this Huskies team. It's his last chance with this veteran squad who has been predicted top three for the third straight year. The wheels fell off in February and March last season and they have started 2-3 this year. It's acceptable to lose at Siena and to Providence and they have two good wins over Wright State and Utah State. Not very often does Northeastern give up over 50% shooting and come out ahead...Providence shot 51.5%.
Dozier Deduction: Get the ball to Janning!


- Old Dominion 60
Richmond 67

Telling stat: 45-29 and 60%. Richmond goes on a 45-29 run in the second half to come from nine down to beat in-state rival Old Dominion and shot 60% in the second half. The Monarchs, preseason favorites, have dropped three in a row and should be able to rectify the situation when Delaware comes to town Saturday afternoon. Preseason POY Gerald Lee? In 34 minutes, he was just 2-6 and grabbed nine boards. Blaine Taylor needs Lee to take over, and show some senior leadership for this team. He played two seasons under the wing of Arnaud Dahi and has been a three year starter. This is the year for Old Dominion, but they are not showing the initiative to live up to expectation, a common thread with Taylor coached teams...overachieving when expectations are low, underachieving when great things are expected.
Dozier Deduction: ODU is not the best team in the league if Lee is anything less than 100%

- Rhode Island 80
VCU 82

Uh oh. That was the sound of 11 other CAA head coaches when they saw this score. Rhode Island is really good and super athletic; without question a top-five A-10 team and a legitimate at-large candidate. VCU beat Nevada on Friday and Oklahoma last Saturday. Although all at home, when Larry Sanders stays out of foul trouble, VCU is STILL the best team in the league, even without Eric Maynor and Anthony Grant. Sanders was 8-10 from the floor, grabbing 11 rebounds for the VCU Rams and playing 33 minutes...that's the important stat. With Maynor in attendance, VCU showed the CAA leadership may still travel through Richmond.
Dozier Deduction: When VCU is at home and Sanders is on the court, they are a top 20 team. On the road? Call me Saturday at Noon.

- Longwood 65
W & M 84

These guys are for real. Seniors David Schneider and Danny Sumner may be one of the best dynamic duos in the league and Wednesday they showed no letdown after the victory AT Wake Forest. Schneider had 22, grabbed six boards and had three assists while the Tribe held Longwood to just 40% shooting. W&M has their best start in years at 5-1 and have won five in a row. The way Tony Shaver's club defends and rebounds and with the best leader in the CAA with Schneider...the Tribe are number two in the CAA power rankings entering league play.
Dozier Deduction: HUGE game against VCU Saturday! Contender or Pretender...CAA Style!

- (3) Villanova 77
Drexel 58

Okay, yeah Villanova is number three in the country, I get it. Yes, Scottie Reynolds is good, and Corey Fisher might be better, but Drexel can take alot of good from this Big Five contest in Philadelphia. Drexel plays shot for shot with 'Nova in the second half, going 43-40 on the wrong side. Oh if only Drexel could have not played the first half. They were down 34-18 at halftime and shot, get ready Dragons fans, 22 %! The starting five with the exception of guard Derrick Thomas (a stud) went 0-19! Thomas and sixth-man Chris Fouch went 12-24 and combined for 43 points, no other Drexel player had more than nine and only four Dragons scored. Tough night for the Dragons, but a solid second half when they were already out of it shows some promise.

- George Mason 49
George Wash. 66

Could someone tell a man what happens in Fairfax? You never know what Mason team will show up...the one who lost to Villanova by three in Puerto Rico, or this. Cam Long and Louis Birdsong both struggle, two essential facets of the Patriot offense, Long went 2-10. Andre Cornelius and Ryan Pearson both sit (?) for apparent violation of team rules, or, some reason. Jim Larranaga has some real questions, and this happens every year. Remember when Will Thomas and Folarin Campbell screwed around for a whole season before getting it together in March back in 2008? That is this team.
Dozier Deduction: GW moves to 5-1, but is not 17 better than Mason. Fix it George.

- Norfolk State 64
James Madison 72

Pierre Curtis scores 1,000 points! You could have fooled me all night with that statistic. The senior Curtis seems like he has been in Harrisonburg since Lefty Dreisell manned the sidelines, and he finally gets some recognition. Curtis has showed leadership and continual effort regardless of the Dukes record. Having said that, the loss of Devon Moore crippled JMU before the season started and they still are feeling it. As a result, Curtis must score, something he just isn't great at, despite going 6-8 Wednesday night. Julius Wells went 5-17 from the field, looks great, 14 and eight with three assists and no turnovers, right? Wells can't shoot 17 times and only muster 14; he's the crux of the Duke offense and must show better efficiency for the JMU success.
Dozier Deduction: Things very up in the crisp mountain air of Harrisonburg for the Dukes season. Need a good CAA start Saturday.

- UMBC 77
Towson 82

Towson just isn't very good. Josh Thornton scored 23 and hit seven threes. Great. Troy Franklin had ten assists. Awesome. Heck, the Tigers win! They led the entire way over an 0-6 UMBC team. They just don't play any defense. Franklin, Thornton, Smith and Brewster don't even bother to check up on guards. Shawn Grant, a bench guard from UMBC goes off for 4-6 from three and 10-14 from the field as he drops 28 in 26 minutes! Pat Kennedy must make this team defend because outside of Thornton, Towson will never have an offensive advantage against any conference team at any position.
Dozier Deduction: Learn to defend Tigers.

What makes the CAA interesting?

The Colonial Athletic Association features the necessities of any good mid-major conference throughout the country. With 12 schools, and a wide range of the schools holding the ability to compete...every year six teams can legitimately make a claim they can win the league, the league has parity at every corner. Every night when a team ventures on a road trip up and down the East coast, it can be an all out war. From as far south as Atlanta to as far north as Boston, every arena can be immensely difficult to leave victorious. An incredibly interesting dynamic with the CAA is the involvement of metropolitan cities with schools in the league. Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, Northern Virginia, Norfolk and Atlanta. All of these cities have become either large cities and the first four are among the largest in our country. The CAA holds the interest of fans in these gigantic cities, providing a large area of interest and a rich talent pool to choose from for the conference. The CAA has also provided a stepping stone for a multitude of college head coaches looking to make their career in the mainstream college basketball and BCS conferences. Anthony Grant, Jeff Capel, John Beilein, Jerry Wainwright, Brad Brownell, among others used coaching jobs at CAA schools to turn their careers into incredible jobs and influential figureheads in the game of college basketball. All of these things: talent, locations, coaching and history make the CAA one of the most interesting mid-major leagues in college basketball.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What is this?

The Colonial Athletic Association has served the fan of college athletics, and more specifically college basketball for 25 years and not many conferences can celebrate the rich history and fierce competition that the CAA provides when their schools get together on the field or court of athletic battle to prove who deserves to be called the winner. As a result of the amazing tradition of the CAA and my passion for CAA athletics and basketball, I have created this dedication to everything CAA hoops. When college basketball comes up in a discussion, mid-major schools go hand in hand. When mid-majors are being talked about, the CAA demands the respect of college basketball fans, featuring the team with the first Final Four appearance from a mid-major program in the 64-team era as well as a slew of historic upsets, which is exactly why I love CAA basketball. All the analysis, statistics, and opinions thrown out in this blog will celebrate that tradition and build up to the CAA Tournament during the first week in March in Richmond, Virginia. CAA Fever: Catch It!

Why should you love the CAA???

- 2007: Eric Maynor nails a shot to take VCU to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, defeating Duke 79-77.

- 2006: Jim Larranaga takes George Mason to a Final Four...defeating power programs such as Michigan State, North Carolina and Connecicut on the way, becoming the only CAA team to reach the Final Four. Ever...Oh, and the CAA gets two bids to the NCAAs and Old Dominion goes to the NIT semifinals.

- 2005: Old Dominion beats VCU in overtime of the CAA title game in one of the best Championship Week games...ODU then goes on to narrowly lose to nationally recognized Michigan State in the first round.

- 2003: Drew Nicholas from Maryland hits a game winning three to beat UNC-Wilmington and John Goldsberry who hit eight...EIGHT three pointers as a freshman in the first round.

- 2002: Brett Blizzard leads Wilmington to a first round win over USC and almost over Indiana...who reached the national title game.

- 1998: A young John Beilein takes Richmond to the NCAAs and beats third seeded South Carolina in a was just the third 14-seed to win a game in the bracket.

In the last 11 seasons, these are just a few examples of the national impact the CAA has made and has the capability of making. Even more are memories are held in the circles of the dedicated fans on these campuses, all searching and praying for Colonial glory each March.