The Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final pits two long-time rivals against each other, with a possible third bid for the league on the line. No. 4 seed Virginia Commonwealth, fresh off its upset victory of No. 1 seed and prohibitive favorite George Mason, takes on No. 2 seed Old Dominion in the CAA Tournament final at the Siegel Center in Richmond on Monday night. The game will take place at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Virginia Commonwealth emerged as the CAA Tournament bracket busters on Sunday when they snapped George Mason's 16-game winning streak with a 79-63 win in the semifinals. It's pretty much a certainty that the CAA will get at least two bids in the NCAA Tournament because George Mason (26-6 overall, No. 23 RPI) has done enough to earn an at-large bid. But if VCU is able to win on Monday, the CAA has a legitimate shot at three bids. Old Dominion is also 26-6 with an RPI of 27, and it would be very difficult to leave them out if they do not win the championship game tonight.
Old Dominion has to be considered the prohibitive favorites in this one. Led by stifling defenders Kent Bazemore (the CAA Defensive Player of the Year) and Frank Hassell, the Monarchs have won eight games in a row, including wins over No. 7-seed Delaware and No. 3-seed Hofstra in this tournament. But Virginia Commonwealth is playing on its home court and can never be counted out. The Rams lost four of their last five regular-season games, but rebounded by edging dangerous No. 5 seed Drexel in the quarterfinals before topping George Mason.
The two teams have split their two games this season, with each winning on the other's home floor. VCU won 59-50 at Old Dominion on January 22, during the middle of a nine-game winning streak, while the Monarchs avenged that defeat with a 70-59 win in Richmond on February 12.