REGULAR SEASON STANDINGS
|4||William & Mary||10–8||16–13|
Location: North Charleston, SC
|First round – Friday March 3, 2017|
|1||6:00 PM||#9 Delaware vs #8 Hofstra||CAA.tv|
|2||8:30 PM||#10 Drexel vs #7 James Madison||CAA.tv|
|Quarterfinals – Saturday March 4, 2017|
|3||12:00 PM||Winner of game 1 vs #1 UNC Wilmington||Comcast SportsNet|
|4||2:30 PM||#5 Elon vs #4 William & Mary||Comcast SportsNet|
|5||6:00 PM||Winner of game 2 vs #2 Charleston||Comcast SportsNet|
|6||8:30 PM||#6 Northeastern vs #3 Towson||Comcast SportsNet|
|Semifinals – Sunday March 5, 2017|
|7||2:00 PM||Winner of game 3 vs Winner of game 4||Comcast SportsNet|
|8||4:30 PM||Winner of game 5 vs Winner of game 6||Comcast SportsNet|
|Championship – Monday March 6, 2017|
|9||7:00 PM||Winner of game 7 vs Winner of game 8||CBS Sports Network|
In college basketball, you have the six major conferences, then five “upper mid majors” and then the rest of the bunch. But in this first part of my series of conference tournament previews, I wanted to highlight the best of these leagues destined to be one bid, and that is the Colonial Athletic Association. Last year the conference was won by UNC-Wilmington, who went on to give Duke a scare in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The conference tournament also always has a built in storyline every year, as William & Mary (4 seed) is one of just five original D1 teams to never make the NCAA tournament, making the Tribe’s fight for an autobid a key storyline to watch.
The tournament takes place close to the campus of #2 seed Charleston, which always makes it tough to predict conference tournaments when one team “might” have a home-court advantage. Charleston split the regular season series with UNC-Wilmington, winning at home by 1, and losing on the road by 6. While those two seem like locks for the semifinals, the other two spots are certainly up in the air, as William&Mary-Elon and Towson-Northeastern are both tossups according to kenpom, Towson has a 53% chance to win, and the W/M-Elon game is split exactly 50-50. In the latter game, It will come down to the inexperience of the Elon. William & Mary is the 89th most experienced team in the nation, while Elon is all the way down at 265th. As for the first quarterfinal, Elon has the best player in the league in TJ Williams. Williams averages around 5 RPG, 5 APG, and 22 PPG. He is a well rounded player, and I think he leads Northeastern to an upset win over a Towson team riddled with injuries.
So, let’s see where we stand. In my projected semis, we’ve got (1) UNC-W vs (4) W&M and (2) Charleston vs (6) Northeastern. The former will be a high scoring, offensively based game. The Tribe and the Seahawks split the season series, with each blowing eachother out at home. I think this one will be closer, but William and Mary ended the year losing four of their last seven, and UNC-Wilmington is hot, and they will move on to the finals. In the Charleston-Northeastern matchup, Northeastern will be worn down from playing a much tougher game the day before, and that will lead to Northeastern being just a step slower in this one, eventually losing to the Cougars.
In the finals, I’ve got the home favorites in Charleston, going against the defending champion UNC-Wilmington Seahawks. The Seahawks have one of the top offenses in the nation, but Charleston’s defense is nothing to scoff at. As I mentioned earlier, these two split the regular season series, and with the season on the line, CJ Bryce will lead UNC-Wilmington to a CAA Championship, and an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.
Friday, March 3
Saturday, March 4
Sunday, March 5
Monday, March 6
CBS Sports Network
|4||William & Mary|
|4||William & Mary|