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
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
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
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
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
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 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.