We all know about the CAA. There was George Mason and its magical Final Four run back in 2006. There was last year's improbable First Four to Final Four march from Shaka Smart and VCU.
This has been a league that has warranted -- and earned multiple bids to the NCAA tournament.
That may not be the case this season.
Drexel finished 25-5 overall and 16-2 in league play. Bruiser Flint's Dragons have won a school-record 17 consecutive games entering the CAA tourney. They have a couple of young studs in freshman forward Damion Lee and sophomore guard Frantz Massenet. The problem was Drexel got out of the gates slow, losing to Norfolk State, Virginia, St. Joe's and Delaware all within the first three weeks of the season.
VCU, despite losing most of the core that led the Rams to the Final Four a year ago, still managed to earn the No. 2 seed -- and could challenge Drexel for the crown, especially with the league tourney based in Richmond. George Mason's new coach Paul Hewitt relies on veteran big men Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison, but his backcourt will be the key. Old Dominion, which not unlike VCU was thought to be in rebuilding mode due to its youth, earned the fourth and final bye.
|Brad Burgess is on the verge of breaking an NCAA record for most starts in a career. (AP)|
The CAA may be down a bit -- and could wind up as a one-bid league -- but it'll still be a dogfight.
Schedule: March 2-5
Title game: Monday, March 5 (7 p.m. ET)
- Ryan Pearson, George Mason
- Frantz Massenat, Drexel
- Bradford Burgess, VCU
- Damion Lee, Drexel
- Kent Bazemore, Old Dominion
Conference RPI: 15
KenPom.com rating: 13
Sagarin rating: 14
NCAA Tournament Locks: None
NCAA Tournament Bubble Teams: Drexel, VCU
Last NCAA Tournament Appearances:
- Delaware Blue Hens, 1999, No. 13 seed, lost to Tennessee in the first round, 62-52
- Drexel Dragons, 1996, No. 12 seed, beat Memphis, 75-63, in the first round; lost to Syracuse, 69-58, in the second round
- George Mason Patriots, 2011, beat Villanova, 61-57, in the second round; No. 8 seed, lost to Ohio State, 98-66, in the third round
- Georgia State Panthers, 2001, No. 11 seed, beat Wisconsin, 50-49, in the first round; lost to Maryland, 79-60, in the second round
- Hofstra Pride, 2001, No. 13 seed, lost to UCLA, 61-48, in the first round
- James Madison Dukes, 1994, No. 14 seed, lost to Florida, 64-62, in the first round
- Northeastern Huskies, 1991, No. 16 seed, lost to North Carolina, 101-66, in the first round
- Old Dominion Monarchs, 2011, No. 9 seed, lost to Butler, 60-58, in the second round
- Towson Tigers, 1991, No. 16 seed, lost to Ohio State, 97-86, in the first round
- UNC Wilmington Seahawks, 2006, No. 9 seed, lost to George Washington, 88-85 (OT), in the first round
- VCU Rams, 2011, Lost to Butler, 70-62, in the Final Four
- William & Mary Tribe - N/A
-- Jeff Goodman