The Transfer Effect: What the Statistics Say about Missouri and Iowa State’s Recruiting Methods

Posted by dnspewak on December 27th, 2011

No matter how established the program, every college basketball coach eventually takes a chance on a transfer. Jim Boeheim, for example, plucked Wesley Johnson from Iowa State and turned him into the Big East Player of the Year in 2009-10. Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski’s current rosters both include transfers with Brandon Wood (Valparaiso) and Seth Curry (Liberty), and in 1979, a former Indiana Hoosier named Larry Bird nearly won a title with Indiana State just a few years after quitting basketball (and Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers) altogether.

Hoiberg and Haith Are Recruiting Transfers Heavily to Their Programs

Normally, coaches take one or two transfers at a time to fill immediate holes, but that’s not everybody’s philosophy. Meet Missouri’s Frank Haith and Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg, a pair of coaches who have abandoned traditional recruiting methods at their new schools in favor of Division I transfers. Haith, hired in April to replace Mike Anderson, is using three open scholarships in 2011-12 on players who will not appear in a single basketball game this season by signing Keion Bell (Pepperdine), Earnest Ross (Auburn) and Jabari Brown (Oregon). Hoiberg, on the other hand, has four transfers on his roster in his second year with the Cyclones: Chris Allen (Michigan State), Chris Babb (Penn State), Royce White (Minnesota), and Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois). The two coaches have energized their fan bases by signing big names from major schools, but Haith and Hoiberg’s recruiting tactics cannot be accurately judged at this point. Iowa State’s Fab Four will begin Big 12 play next month, and Missouri’s three transfers will not all be eligible until December 2012.

Instead of speculating as to whether the two teams will suffer from dreaded chemistry problems with so many transfers, why not crunch the numbers to see if The Transfer Effect really exists? Although finding aggregate data for Division I transfers is virtually impossible, recent anecdotal evidence shows that the recruiting strategy is an enormous risk for both coaches. Seven teams from both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons welcomed three or more transfers to their programs at the same time, and only two teams (San Diego State and UNLV) finished above .500 in league play. Seton Hall, the only power conference team in the group, missed the NCAA Tournament.

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Checking in on… the CAA

Posted by jstevrtc on January 26th, 2010

Ryan Restivo of the MAAC-based SienaSaintsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the Colonial Athletic Association. SienaSaintsBlog now features exclusive video!

Standings (as of 1/24):

  1. Old Dominion (16-5, 8-1)
  2. Northeastern (13-7, 8-1)
  3. George Mason (13-7, 8-1)
  4. William & Mary (14-5, 6-3)
  5. Drexel (11-10, 6-3)
  6. VCU (13-5, 5-4)
  7. Georgia State (9-12, 3-6)
  8. UNC Wilmington (7-13, 3-6)
  9. Hofstra (9-12, 2-7)
  10. James Madison (8-11, 2-7)
  11. Delaware (5-15, 2-7)
  12. Towson (4-15, 1-8)

Important Games This Week:

Wed 1/27

Drexel @ Northeastern

The Dragons have won three of their last four games and they beat Northeastern in December. Since then, the Huskies have been on a roll and are going for their twelfth straight win Wednesday night.

Sat 1/30

Old Dominion @ Northeastern

Northeastern, with a win Wednesday against Drexel, would have a chance to tie the school record 13-game win streak against Old Dominion. Northeastern has won five in a row at home entering the week. With a win Wednesday, Old Dominion would put an eight game win streak on the line as well.

Drexel @ William & Mary

Right now it appears these two could be fighting it out for the #4 seed in the conference tournament and this is a huge game for tiebreakers since William & Mary won the first game, 73-48. If the Dragons want to contend for a bye, which the top four seeds receive, this game would be crucial to their chances.

Team Reviews:

Old Dominion (8-1)

The Monarchs held Delaware to just 36% shooting in an easy 68-49 road win over the last-place Blue Hens Wednesday. Ben Finney followed up his season-high 19 from Saturday to lead the Monarchs with 17 on 6-9 shooting. The surprise was Darius James who scored a season-high 15 points coming off the bench. Old Dominion made nine three-point field goals, one short of their season high. The Monarchs and Tribe changed leads four times in the final 2:05 and Gerald Lee made two free throws with 43 seconds to go to give the Monarchs the lead and a 58-55 win at William & Mary on Saturday night. Lee led the Monarchs with 15 points and the Monarchs out rebounded the Tribe, 40-32. The Monarchs have won 10 of their last 11 games.

Northeastern (8-1)

The Huskies went on a 23-6 run to start the second half and close out a 25-point win at Towson on Wednesday night. The Huskies shot 62.1% in the second half to score 47 second half points, one shy of the Tigers’ total in two halves. Chaisson Allen led the Huskies with a team-high 16 points. Ten was the key number as the Huskies tied a season-high for three pointers (10) and extended their winning streak to ten. Nkem Ojougboh led the Huskies with 18 points on 6-7 shooting as Northeastern dominated VCU in a 74-62 win Saturday night. Allen scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half as the Huskies shot a season-high 58.5% from the field. Northeastern’s record for a win streak is 13, set in the 1985-86 season.

George Mason (8-1)

Cam Long set a new career-high for the second straight game, scoring 17 of his  27 in the second half as the Patriots beat Hofstra 90-72. The Patriots scored a season-high 90 by shooting 66.7% in the second half for their third road win of the year. George Mason has won four of their five games on the road in the CAA this year. The Patriots went on a 15-5 run to rally from a brief deficit to pull out a nine-point road win over Towson Saturday. Long led the Patriots with 21 points on 7-11 shooting. The Patriots shot 55.2% from the floor in the second half and every starter scored double-digit points in the victory. “My teammates are yelling ‘shoot!’ when they throw me the ball because they know I am making shots and capable of making my three-pointers,” Long said.

William & Mary (6-3)

Quinn McDowell was shut down and the Tribe were forced into 14 turnovers in a blowout 81-59 loss at Virginia Commonwealth Wednesday night. The Rams went on a 12-4 run to start the second half and held a double-digit lead for all but one minute of the half. Danny Sumner led the Tribe with 20 points on 8-12 shooting. A game that lived up to all the hype, the Tribe drew their biggest crowd to ever watch a CAA game and there were a combined ten lead changes, but they could not hold off the Monarchs, who made clutch free throws and resulted in a 58-55 home loss for the Tribe on Saturday. Head Coach Tony Shaver said, “Great atmosphere, well-played ball game. I don’t think I can ask our guys to compete any harder than we did tonight, and I’m very proud of that. Tough one to lose, but a great one to be a part of.” McDowell led the Tribe with 16 points on 5-13 shooting, but the Tribe were held to 29.6% second half shooting as Old Dominion used clutch free throws to take a late lead.

Drexel (6-3)

The Dragons went on an 11-0 second half run and scored a season-high 51 second half points in a 21 point home win over James Madison Wednesday. Jamie Harris led the Dragons with a team-high 20 points, 16 in the second half, on 8-12 shooting. Drexel turned the game around with three point shooting. The Dragons made 8-11 threes in the second half, coming off of making 3-32 (9.3%) over the last five halves of basketball. Led by Chris Fouch’s career-high 29 points on 10-15 shooting, the Dragons pulled away early in a 13 point win over Hofstra Saturday. Drexel took a halftime lead of 18 spurred by 51.7% shooting and opened the game up by as many as 30 in the second half.

VCU (5-4)

The Rams dominated the second half in front of a sold out crowd and had a dominant 22 point victory over William & Mary Wednesday. The Rams were able to hold the Tribe, the best three point shooting team in the CAA, to just 25.9% from three point range. Larry Sanders, who shared a team-high 18 with Joey Rodriguez, said he’s confident in his team’s identity. “This is the time we should be finding ourselves. That way, come March, we’ll be playing our best basketball”, Sanders said. Rodriguez collected 10 assists for his first career double-double. Sanders scored a team-high 22 points but the Rams could not keep pace with the hot-shooting Huskies in a 12-point loss at Northeastern on Saturday. The Rams shot 37.9% for the game and fell to 2-3 on the road in conference play. The Rams have not been swept in the regular season since 2005-06. The loss likely ensures the Rams will not win a fourth straight regular season title.

Georgia State (3-6)

The Panthers overcame a 12-point deficit to earn a home win over UNC Wilmington Wednesday night. Joe Dukes and Trey Hampton both scored 17 points to lead the Panthers. Coach Rod Barnes said his team’s adjustments at halftime helped curb the nine-point deficit. “Our guys really responded to the change we made at halftime to press and push the ball up the floor. The pressure made us more aggressive and it slowed them (UNCW) down, got them back on their heels and gave us an opportunity to get some steals,” Barnes said. The Panthers responded by shooting 55.6% from the field and shooting their best percentage in CAA play this year (50.9%). Dukes led the Panthers with 23 on  Saturday but the Blue Hens got a clutch three to beat Georgia State 76-74 in overtime. Ousman Krubally scored a career-high 16 points off the bench as the Panthers outscored the Blue Hens off the bench 36-18.  The Panthers have lost six of their last seven and four straight on the road.

UNC Wilmington (3-6)

Virginia needed a jumper with 2.2 seconds left to avoid being upset by the Seahawks on Monday night, as they fell 69-67. UNC Wilmington made a season-high 11 three pointers to close a deficit as high as 16 in the second half to tie the game with 4:52 to go.  It appears that the Seahawks are finding their shot; however, they couldn’t find an answer for Georgia State’s hot shooting and lost their fifth straight ,79-74, on Wednesday night. Head Coach Benny Moss said, “We were not able to guard them the way we had previously up at our place.” Johnny Wolf led the Seahawks with 19, who had three others in double figures. John Fields had his sixth double-double of the year, 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead UNC Wilmington to a comeback victory on Saturday over James Madison. The Seahawks had many chances at the free throw line, shooting just 54.3% of 35 free throws, and that included making just 5-16 in the final 4:43. The win over the Dukes snapped a five game losing streak.

Hofstra (2-7)

The NCAA declared Brad Kelleher ineligible for this season because he signed an application with an Australian pro team five years ago.  Despite 26 points from Charles Jenkins and 20 points from Chaz Williams Tuesday night, Hofstra could not contain the Patriots in the second half in an 18-point loss to George Mason. Hofstra struggled mightily Saturday, falling behind early and getting blown out in Philadelphia in a 75-62 loss to Drexel. Williams struggled, scoring only 9 points on 3-11 shooting. Miklos Szabo led the Pride with 14 points on 6-12 shooting. The rest of the Pride, without Szabo, combined to shoot 32% from the field. The Pride have lost five in a row.

James Madison (2-7)

The Dukes could not contain a barrage from the Drexel Dragons, who went on to shoot 61.2% from the field in a 21-point loss in Philadelphia Wednesday night. Head Coach Matt Brady said, “Drexel dominated the second half in just about every way conceivable. It seemed like the roof caved in on us.” Denzel Bowles led the Dukes with 19 points but Julius Wells, 11 points but 1-7 from three point range, could not get the downtown shots going. The Dukes tied a season-low with 2 three-point field goals and shot 2-13 from three-point range (15.4%). James Madison could not hold on to a six-point halftime lead Saturday, watching it evaporate at the hands of the Seahawks in a tough 67-64 loss. The Dukes have lost four straight games and have shot 27.8% from three-point range during the losing streak.

Delaware  (2-7)

The Blue Hens could not hold a brief first half lead and were dominated in the second half in a 68-49 loss to Old Dominion on Wednesday night. Alphonso Dawson led the Blue Hens with 13 points. Delaware came back late, trailing by as many as nine in the final minutes, to force overtime and came through with a Jawan Carter three pointer with 13 seconds left to give the Blue Hens a 76-74 win. Carter led the Blue Hens with 21 points, scoring four of the Blue Hens’ six points in overtime Saturday. The Blue Hens have won three of their five overtime games this season.

Towson (1-8)

The Tigers could not hold a six-point halftime lead as they shot just 26.9% from the field in the second half in a 64-57 loss at St. Joseph’s Monday night. Josh Thornton led the Tigers with 23 points on 8-19 shooting. Starting point guard Brian Morris left the game early and did not return. The Tigers could not contain the Northeastern Huskies, falling behind early in the second half Wednesday, losing 73-48 at home. Head Coach Pat Kennedy said his team just ran out of gas. “In the first half, I thought our zone defense was working well. The way we played in the first half is the way we have to play,” Kennedy said. Josh Brown led the Tigers with 14 points, 10 of which were scored in the first half. Jarrel Smith carried the Tigers with 23 points and Calvin Lee had a 15 point 13 rebound double-double but the Tigers could not get any closer in the final minute and fell at home 80-71 to George Mason on Saturday. The loss marks the 16th straight loss to the Patriots, a streak that dates back as far as 1993.


When not covering the CAA for Rush The Court, Ryan writes about Fantasy Baseball on and writes on his own website: Ryan is busy being immersed in baseball draft prep and has a very cool Fantasy Baseball project for drafts. You can contact him here.

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Checking in on… the CAA

Posted by jstevrtc on January 4th, 2010

Ryan Restivo of the MAAC-based SienaSaintsBlog is the RTC correspondent for the Colonial Athletic Association.

Standings (as of 1/2):

  1. William & Mary (10-2, 2-0)
  2. Georgia State (8-6, 2-0)
  3. George Mason (7-6, 2-0)
  4. VCU (9-2, 1-1)
  5. Old Dominion (9-5, 1-1)
  6. Hofstra (8-6, 1-1)
  7. Northeastern (6-7, 1-1)
  8. Drexel (6-8, 1-1)
  9. Delaware (5-8, 1-1)
  10. James Madison (6-6, 0-2)
  11. UNC Wilmington (4-8, 0-2)
  12. Towson (3-8, 0-2)

Important Games This Week

Monday 1/4:

UNC Wilmington @ William & Mary — One of the best three point shooting teams (W&M) versus one of the best three point defenses (UNC-W).  Can UNC Wilmington snap W & M’s ten game win streak?

Northeastern @ Virginia Commonwealth — Northeastern has disappointed so far this season amid lofty expectations, will they turn it around against one of the CAA’s hottest teams?

Saturday 1/9:

Hofstra @ Old Dominion — Old Dominion is undefeated at home this season, the Pride and Monarchs are both very good defensive teams.  Expect a battle in the 40-50 range in Norfolk.

Team Reviews

William & Mary is on a Roll. The Tribe have won ten straight, a new school record, and won 48-47 at Hofstra on a Kendrix Brown three point play to continue their historic season.  William & Mary is 2-0 in the CAA for the first time since 1997-98.  The Tribe have not started this well since 1948-49 when they started 14-2.

More impressively, the Tribe never gave up the lead at Maryland after the 4:44 mark in the first half in a convincing 83-77 win in College Park.  After dropping their first two games to Connecticut by nine and Harvard in triple-overtime, the Tribe have racked up impressive statement wins over Richmond, Wake Forest and Maryland.  According to, their Offensive efficiency is tops in the nation (124.2).

Georgia State is a Mystery.   With no impressive wins on the schedule so far, Georgia State enters conference play at 8-6, and kind of a mystery.  An example:  they took a lead as high as 15 on Saturday against Towson (3-8) only to trail by two with 6:27 to go in the game.  Trey Hampton led the way with 22 points on 9-10 shooting from the field as they showed no rust from a ten-day layoff.

George Mason Starts Off New Decade Right. After posting a one of their worst losses, a 27-point loss to Radford, to close the decade, the Patriots started off the new decade right.  George Mason went on an 18-4 run to take what was a one point game and push it to a 16 point victory.  Ryan Pearson led the way for the Patriots with 17 points and tied a season-high eight field goals made.

VCU…New Decade, No Problem.  Every single VCU player scored at least two points in a 91-57 blowout over UNC Wilmington.  VCU led by as many as 46 and Larry Sanders scored a team-high 16 points in only 19 minutes.  Sanders and the Rams haven’t been tested since grinding out a one point win on December 19th over Tulane.  Sanders has scored in double-digits in every game but one this season and has improved his scoring as well as his field goal and free throw percentages in his junior year.

Defensive Letdown in Fairfax. The Old Dominion Monarchs did not show up in the second half in a double-digit loss to George Mason, and snapped a three game win streak.  The Monarchs have played a tough non-conference schedule and were finally reaping the benefits of their defensive prowess with wins over Georgetown and the Atlantic 10’s Charlotte and Duquesne.

ODU had won five out of its last six entering the game but did not bring the defense that has held opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 42.3% entering Saturday.  They allowed George Mason to dominate inside going 22-41 (53.6%) from inside the arc.  The last time ODU allowed a team to score over 70 points was January 31, 2009 — a span of 28 games.

Hofstra’s Train is Delayed.  What was supposed to be Charles Jenkins’ coming out party this season has been a slight disappointment.  Jenkins has not scored over 20 points in his last three games and was stifled, along with the entire Hofstra offense, in a tough one point loss to William & Mary.  Jenkins scored 23 points on national television at Kansas and followed that up later in November with 38 points against Fairfield at home but otherwise teams have been able to contain him, and the Pride have yet to develop any other threats for their CAA counterparts to guard.  Their next leading scorer, Nathaniel Lester, has two more three-point attempts (24) than turnovers (22) and has regressed from his three point field goal percentage last season.  Hofstra’s best win out of conference might be their four point win over Fairfield, a middling team in the MAAC; they have yet to show that they can compete with the upper echelon of the conference.

Northeastern Managing Expectations. The Huskies entered the 2009-10 season as the preseason #2 team, second only to Old Dominion.  Behind preseason first team all-CAA Matt Janning’s senior leadership, they were expected to rack up quality wins in the non-conference.  The Huskies, however, got on a five game losing streak which included a home loss to Providence and ended with a 15 point loss to Western Michigan.  They were able to recover in Honolulu and win on Christmas over Southern Methodist and showed on Saturday why they have the offense to be a force in the CAA.

The Huskies shot 60% from the floor and scored a season-high 47 points in the first half to blow out James Madison, 73-61.  To put it in perspective, they matched their lowest point total in a game (47 in a two point loss to Drexel) in one half to even their record at 1-1.

Drexel Looking to Rebound.  The Dragons have managed to play many close games but have ended up n the wrong side of all but one this season.  Saturday at Delaware was an enigma.  Having a lead as large as 13 in the first half only to squander it in under six minutes out of the break.  Drexel went cold from the field, shooting 35% in the second half. Leading scorer Jamie Harris scored 11 of his team-high 18 points in the first half.

The Dragons have been on two separate three game win streaks this year for all six of their wins.  They have been led by Harris, who has scored in double-digits in every win but one this season.  Drexel’s offense has not impressed this year and shooting has been the problem.  Shooting less than 30% behind the arc and just over 45% inside it has not helped a team that shoots free throws at 63.3%, good for 303rd in the nation.

Blue Hen Win Streak. Delaware has a two game win streak for the first time since the start of last year.  Led by St. Joseph’s transfer Jawan Carter, who has scored double digits in every game but one, Delaware looks poised to improve on last year’s six CAA wins.  Their problem is that they’ve taken too many three-pointers and shot only 27.1% (324th in the country, last in the CAA) from behind the arc.

James Madison Starting to Come Alive. Texas A&M transfer Denzel Bowles fits the Matt Brady trend of players he can give the ball to and just let them go.  Bowles has averaged over 20 points since debuting in December but sat out a one game suspension for violating team rules on Saturday.  Bowles will probably be given the reins for the rest of the year when he is in the lineup (expected back on Monday night against Delaware).  He has taken double-digit shots in every game but one; he took nine shots in their four-point loss at Stanford.  The proclaimed shot doctor Brady has fixed the Dukes’ two point shooting to where it’s the best in the league (50.7%, 85th in the nation).  They have a chance Monday to snap a two game losing streak against Delaware but then travel to Old Dominion, a team Brady has not beaten on the road in his two tries (0-2 with Marist & James Madison).

UNC Wilmington’s Good and Bad News. The positives for the Seahawks?  They notched an early non-conference win over Penn State on a neutral floor and have one of the best perimeter defenses in the country.  The bad news?  Their offense has struggled mightily, shooting only 16% in the first half and getting down 29-4 in a 91-57 loss at VCU.  The Seahawks have turned the ball over at least 15 times in every game but one this season.  They turned the ball over a season-high 28 times Saturday, 15 in the first half alone.  Monday night doesn’t promise to be any better at conference leader William & Mary, either.

Towson Continues to Struggle.  The Tigers shot a season low 33.9% in losing at Georgia State, 70-61.  The problems this season have been mostly on the defensive end for the Tigers, ranking last among CAA teams in FG% defense and rebounding margin.  Towson will embark on attempting to break some bad trends this week.  Towson has yet to win a road game (0-4) this season and will get two chances at Hofstra and James Madison.  They will also try to break a record against Old Dominion, as eighth-year head coach Pat Kennedy has yet to beat the Monarchs.  The last time the Tigers beat Old Dominion was a 67-55 win in 2002, their only win in the 12-game series history.

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2008-09 Season Primers: #12 – Colonial

Posted by rtmsf on October 31st, 2008

Ryan Kish of George Mason Basketball is the RTC correspondent for the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA).

Predicted order of finish:

  1. VCU
  2. Northeastern
  3. George Mason
  4. Old Dominion
  5. Delaware
  6. Georgia State
  7. Hofstra
  8. James Madison
  9. William & Mary
  10. UNC-Wilmington
  11. Towson
  12. Drexel

WYN2K.  Last season was a letdown for the CAA faithful after two seasons of multiple bids and tournament wins over historical powerhouses to becoming a single bid conference with that team losing in a first round rout.  The 2006 and 2007 NCAA tournament victories from George Mason and VCU have set the bar for this conference so that now just getting to the NCAA tournament and avoiding a blowout isn’t the criteria for a successful season anymore.  Last season George Mason looked as if they were riding that magic carpet again, running through the CAA tournament and snagging that automatic bid after a rollercoaster season, only to be sent home early from the Big Dance by the three point onslaught of Notre Dame.  This conference returns 65% of its starters and has some exciting freshmen and transfers entering the mix, but are they poised for another successful March?

Predicted Champion.  VCU (#10 Seed NCAA).  Tough call this season, as always in the competitive CAA, but the pick has to go VCU. Last season the Rams were atop the conference standings all season, only to stumble in the conference tournament. The selection comes mostly because of the experience of head coach Anthony Grant and reigning conference MVP Eric Maynor, whose slaying of Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament might have just been a preview of things to come as he enters his senior year.  Sophomore Larry Sanders is another name to watch for this Rams squad as a defensive force in the front court.  Last season Sanders only started half of the season’s games yet led the team in rebounding (5.2) and blocked shots (3.0).  Speaking of Maynor…


Others Considered. Not to be overlooked are the Huskies of Northeastern who return their entire starting lineup and top nine scorers from last season including Matt Janning who could challenge Eric Maynor for conference MVP.  Old Dominion and George Mason have been very successful programs for the conference in recent history as both are well coached and can potentially challenge the likes of VCU and Northeastern.  Make no mistake that this could be another season for the CAA in which an ankle sprain or two in March could determine the conference champion. 

Newcomers.  Last season Delaware was atop the standings for most of the season with the success brought on by transfers Marc Egerson (Georgetown) and Jim Ledsome (Nebraska) becoming eligible.  Look for the same thing to happen at Georgia State this season.  Head coach Rod Barnes (2001 Naismith Coach of the Year), who had to endure a season watching his reserve team of transfer players best his team’s current starters each practice, could be the CAA’s hot new coach this season.  Georgia State returns all-CAA guard Leonard Mendez (16 ppg) who will be surrounded by big school talent with the additions of Trey Hampton and Xavier Hansbro (former player of Barnes at Ole Miss), point guard Joe Dukes (Wake Forest), forward Bernard Rimmer (Mississippi State) and guard Dante Curry (South Florida).  George Mason and UNCW had the best recruiting success this past off-season.  Mason was able to nab point guard Andre Cornelius and forward Ryan Pearson from the lure of the BCS schools while UNCW locked up forward Kevon Moore and guard Jerel Stephson.  All of these are players that could be playing in bigger conferences and are likely the most Division I ready freshmen entering the CAA this year.

Games to Watch. 

  • George Mason at VCU  (01.24.09)
  • Northeastern at VCU  (01.28.09)
  • VCU at Old Dominion  (02.14.09)
  • Northeastern at George Mason  (02.14.09)
  • Old Dominion at Northeastern  (02.28.09)

RPI Booster Games.  The CAA has had success in recent years against out of conferences foes, both mid-major and BCS. This season the conference favorites don’t have a whole lot of opportunity to make a splash early on but their definitely is some winnable games against some notable programs that could start the multiple bid talk early.

  • James Madison at Davidson  (11.17.08)
  • Georgia State at Georgia Tech (12.17.08)
  • VCU at Oklahoma (12.20.08)
  • Winthrop at Old Dominion  (12.20.08)
  • Northeastern at Indiana  (12.22.08)
  • George Mason at Dayton  (12.30.08)
  • Northeastern at Memphis (12.31.08)

Odds of Multiple NCAA Bids.  Fairly likely.  VCU has a real chance of winning an at-large bid this season should they not grab the automatic bid from the conference tournament.  Northeastern’s tough schedule could hinder them from a possible at-large birth. Starting at the end of November the Huskies are on the road five of six games before heading into conference play. Ouch.  George Mason and Old Dominion don’t have much on the OOC slate which would mean they don’t have a lot of margin for error in the early part of their schedules.  With the bottom half of the conference steadily improving, the RPI numbers could be good enough to get a team an at-large bid if they have between 14-16 conference wins. 

65 Team Era.  From 1987-2005, the CAA was a one-bid league.  Of course, that changed in a big way in 2006, when two teams were invited to the NCAA Tournament and George Mason became the greatest Cinderella to make the F4 in history.  Two more teams were invited in 2007, and while only George Mason was invited in 2008, there’s no reason to think that the CAA is not a conference generally on the rise.  The CAA is 15-27 (.357) in the era, which definitely ranks it as one of the higher mid-major conferences.  Hey, we gotta throw it in – this never gets old…

Final Thoughts.  Last season proved that the depth of this conference is improving as annual bottom-feeders James Madison, Delaware and William & Mary all made noise at some point in the season. Look for that trend to continue as even the newest CAA members Georgia State and Northeastern could be contending for the top of the standings come March.  That is not to say the big boys of the conference have declined. George Mason, VCU, Old Dominion, and UNCW all bring more talent this season than the conference has ever seen.  The experience of the coaches on the sideline this season is a big asset for this conference and could spell trouble for opposing teams at the Big Dance. The team(s) that make it to the Big Dance this season could be poised for some not-so-much of an upset victories.

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