The 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament is set to hit the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va., from March 9-11. The CAA has a strong history of sending Cinderella teams to the NCAA Tournament, whether it be George Mason in 2006 or Virginia Commonwealth in 2011. With an automatic bid up for grabs this weekend, all seven teams in the mix will give it their best shot to go dancing in March.
What, Who, When
The Colonial Athletic Association's Men's basketball tournament will take place at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va., from March 9-11
The 11-team conference will only have a seven-team tournament, thanks to conference realignment and NCAA violations. The Old Dominion Monarchs and the Georgia State Panthers cannot participate in the tournament since the league bans schools that have announced they will leave the conference from gaining the league's automatic NCAA bid. The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks and the Towson Tigers did not meet the required APR scores to participate.
The seven-team tournament will give No.1 seed Northeastern a first round bye, with the other six teams playing games in the first round.
Saturday: No. 4 George Mason vs. No. 5 Drexel; No 2. Delaware vs No. 7 Hofstra; No. 3 James Madison vs. No. 6 William & Mary
Sunday: No. 1 Northeastern vs. George Mason/Drexel; Delaware/Hofstra vs. James Madison/William & Mary
Who The Numbers Like
George Mason: Despite being the No. 4 seed in the tournament, the George Mason Patriots have the highest KenPom ranking in the CAA. The Patriots picked up an impressive non-conference win over the Virginia Cavaliers, and only lost by one to the New Mexico Lobos. George Mason does a good job collecting offensive rebounds, but struggled with defensive rebounding and surrendering free throws during conference play.
Who The Eyeballs Like
Delaware: Although Northeastern is the top-ranked team in the tournament, the Delaware Blue Hens enter the tournament as the conference's hottest team. The Blue Hens started conference play 3-3, but went an impressive 12-2 over their final 14 games, including a road win against the Northeastern Huskies.
Drexel: Although George Mason has the highest KenPom rating, their first round opponent, the Drexel Dragons owns the league's second-highest ranking. The Dragons are unlikely to beat themselves in the tournament, as they own they play the second toughest defense in the conference, surrender the fewest offensive rebounds and rarely turn the ball over.
Best Possible Title Game
Northeastern vs. Delaware: The two teams games were decided by a combined six points, with the road team winning each game. Their most recent game saw the Blue Hens escape with a two-point road overtime victory over the Huskies. Northeastern played in five overtime games during conference play, so any title game featuring the Huskies should provide excitement.
Who Might/Will Get In Anyway
Nobody from the CAA is expected to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
Players To Watch
Devon Saddler, Delaware: Saddler may be the most important player in the league respective to his team. Saddler uses the most of his team's possessions in the conference, and averages 20 points, five rebounds and three assists per game. The CAA Player of the Year candidate will be asked to carry a heavy load during the tournament, and will receive little rest during the games.
Joel Smith, Northeastern: Smith is the leading scorer for the No. 1 seed in the tournament and is among the most efficient scorers in the country. Smith is ranked 19th in True Shooting percentage in the nation, thanks to an impressive 42.5 percent three-point field goal percentage, and a 87 percent free-throw percentage. The Huskies will be a tough out in the tournament if Smith gets hot from beyond the arc.
Daryl McCoy, Drexel: McCoy is one of the best rebounders in the country, specifically on the offensive glass. McCoy let his prescence be felt in the Dragons' season finale against the Seahawks, grabbing 17 total rebounds, including nine one the offensive end. The senior will need to create havoc on the glass to give Drexel a chance at making a tournament run.
Devon Moore, James Madison: Moore is one of the top point guard's in the CAA, owning the league's highest assist rate. The senior averages 11 points and five assists per game while playing 80 percent of the available minutes. Moore posted double-digit assists totals in two separate games during the month of February, and will need to be the leader for the Dukes.
Marcus Thornton, William & Mary: Thornton leads leagues most efficient offense in scoring, averaging 19 points per game. The sophomore jacks up a ton of shots, but also makes his fair share, sinking nearly four 3-point-baskets per game. Thornton has shown the ability to take over games this season, scoring a season-high 32 points against Old Dominion earlier this season