Posts Tagged ‘CAA’

Posts Tagged ‘CAA’

CAA Top of the Ladder: 1/29

January 29th, 2013

This is a weekly feature appearing on Tuesdays that takes a closer look at recent storylines for each of the teams near the top of the CAA standings.

Northeastern University:

1st place, W-L: 13-7 (8-0); Last Week: 2-0

Hashtags: #undefeated #2OT #escape  #primetime #driversseat

If you have not noticed already, the Huskies are a LEGIT contender in the CAA., and it took a national audience for the recognition. Northeastern pulled away from George Mason down the stretch for a 71-51 win on NBC Sports Network. They held the second leading scorer in the CAA, Sharrod Wright, to 16 hard-earned points on 4-9 shooting. For most of the game the play was a lot more competitive than the score would indicate, and the game got sloppy on both sides. But Northeastern was able to execute when it mattered most, whether it was CAA Player of the Week Joel Smith teeing up 3’s, Quincy Ford or freshman David Walker locking down the opponents’ most skilled ball-handler; the Huskies have everyone playing minutes making plays. Notice I have not even mentioned the likes of senior Jon Lee, sophomore big-man Reggie Spencer or other bench contributors yet.

This was preceded by a double overtime victory against William & Mary on Wednesday 95-91 at home. The Huskies built an early double-digit lead in the first half only to see the Tribe shoot 73% in the second half to cut deficit. Smith tied his career high with 29 points in the Husky victory. Walker stepped up to complement his superb defense with his best offensive performance, scoring 17 points to go along with five assists.

Northeastern will finish up a four game home-stand this week with Georgia State coming in for the first match-up of these top-five squads this season. On Saturday Drexel comes into Boston. Northeastern beat the Dragons in overtime in Philadelphia back on January 8, 63-58. The Huskies have now built a three-game lead and hold the tiebreaker over second place George Mason.

George Mason University:

2nd place, W-L: 12-8 (5-3); Last Week: 1-1

Hashtags: #contender #doitWright #Walkeredon #nicetryforonehalf

The Patriots dropped Towson off this week’s ladder with a 77-67 victory on Wednesday in Maryland. Junior Sharrod Wright stole the spotlight off of Towson’s transfer stud Jerrelle Benimon with his 24 points to lead all scorers in the win.

But when the Patriots came up to Boston for a Sunday night showdown and control of the conference on the line, Mason did not have enough answers for the Huskies’ many problems. Both teams suffered from bad turnovers but Wright and company could not take advantage and Northeastern held a 29-21 lead at halftime. In the second half, not only did the Husky reserves make and impact, but with Ford, Lee, Smith and Spencer also adding double digits, the Patriots didn’t have enough bullets in the chamber, falling 71-51.

Mason cannot afford to shy away from the big-stage as they will be featured again on NBC Sports Thursday night when Drexel (4-3) comes in to Fairfax, VA. After a day to catch their breath, the Patriots wraps up the week on Saturday at James Madison (5-3), who jumped onto the third rung in this week’s ladder.

James Madison University:

3rd place W-L: 11-10 (5-3); Last Week: 2-0

Hashtags: #couldbein2nd #Masontiebreaker #fornow #keepingpace

The Dukes make their first appearance after getting above .500 this week with double-digit home wins against Delaware and Old Dominion. On Wednesday against Delaware, Rayshawn Goins posted a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds in  the win for James Madison.

On Saturday the Dukes ran a defensive clinic and held Old Dominion to 32% shooting on the way to a 56-46 win at home against Monarchs. This week we will find out about Madison’s staying power with three games on tap.

The Dukes play in Wilmington, N.C. against UNCW  tonight, followed by a return home for a bout with Hofstra (2-5) on Thursday night. The Dukes biggest game this week comes on Saturday when George Mason (5-3) comes to visit, although by then James Madison could have played itself off the ladder.

Drexel University:

4th place W-L: 8-11 (4-3); Last Week: 2-0

Hashtags: #Imstillhere #waittilnextweek #OTrevenge #3headeddragon

The Dragons escaped Hampstead, N.Y. with a 55-52 win over Hofstra on Wednesday. The Drexel defense surrendered 29 points on 10-20 shooting to Hofstra sophomore guard Taran Buie. But it would be Drexel junior Frantz Massenat, one of three Dragons averaging double figures, having the last laugh with his 15 points, as the Dragons pulled out the victory.

Drexel came home for a Saturday match-up with Georgia State, overtaking the Panthers on this week’s ladder with a 68-57 victory. Sophomore guard Damion Lee and Massenat led the Dragons in scoring with 20 and 15 points respectively.

This week is HUGE for Drexel with three big games that could go a long way in deciding the conference make-up. The Dragons host Delaware (3-3) tonight on NBC Sports and a win could spell doom for the Blue Hens as far as obtaining a top seed in the CAA tournament. In another nationally televised bout on Thursday, Drexel invades George Mason (5-3), where a win could put the Dragons back on course for the remainder of the CAA regular season. The biggest game comes two days later when the Dragons have a shot at revenge for the earlier overtime loss this year against Northeastern.

Georgia State:

5th place W-L: 10-12 (5-4); Last Week: 2-1

Hashtags: #hesafreshman #Tigerslayers #almostfourthplace #dragonchow

Georgia State is coming off a busy week, but finds itself right where it started at this time last week. It began with the Panthers starting Towson’s slide down the ladder, defeating the Tigers on their own floor, 71-69 victory. Freshman guard R.J. Hunter was the hero, scoring a career-high 27 points against the Tigers in last Monday’s win.

The Panthers came home to blowout UNC-Wilmington, 81-63, on Wednesday. However, Georgia State’s four-game win streak would come to an end at the hands of Drexel on the road, 68-57, to keep the Panther’s locked in fifth on the ladder. With the loss, the Dragons now hold the tiebreaker edge over the Panthers.

This week Georgia State travels up to Boston for its first match-up with the Huskies (8-0) this season. The Panthers close out the week with last place Old Dominion (0-7) at home on Saturday.

Alex LaCasse Basketball, The Dog Pound ,

CAA Top of the Ladder

January 22nd, 2013

This is a weekly feature appearing on Tuesdays that takes a closer look at recent storylines for each of the teams near the top of the CAA standings.

Northeastern University:

1st place, W-L: 11-7 (6-0); Last Week: 2-0

Hashtags: #1stplace #undefeated #Quincywatch

The Huskies continued their red-hot start to open conference play with two more big wins this week. Northeastern has been finding different ways to win games that in previous seasons would have gone the other way. Coming off his 24 point performance against Hofstra on Wednesday, sophomore Quincy Ford is quietly (or as quietly as possible, after this play appeared on SportsCenter’s Top 10) developing into the player the Huskies have always thought he could be. He added 17 points to support senior Joel Smith’s 18 as Northeastern showed Delaware who was top dog in the CAA with a 74-70 win down in Newark. The Huskies let a 17-point advantage get closed down to a four-point lead but went on a late run to seal the win.

The win over Hofstra was Ford’s coming out party, as he shot 11-17 from the field with a 3-pointer. He also filled up his stat sheet by adding two offensive rebounds, two assists and two steals. If Ford is able to play with this kind of consistency for the rest of the regular season, the rest of the CAA needs to be put on notice; a three-headed monster of Ford, Smith and fellow senior Jon Lee could potentially carry this squad to a CAA regular season title and beyond.

This week Northeastern is at home and will play William &  Mary (1-5) on Wednesday and George Mason (4-2) on Sunday.

Towson University:

2nd place, W-L: 10-10 (5-2); Last Week: 2-1

Hashtags: #turnaround #JerrelleBenimon #thankyougeorgetown #Tigerpride

The Tigers may be coming back to earth as they dropped a close contest against Georgia State 71-69 Monday night with Jerrelle Benimon leading the way with 18 points in 37 minutes. Towson fans can hang their collective hats on the fact that Towson has increased its win total tenfold from a disastrous 1-31 campaign last season. They can also take pride that behind the play of Benimon, the Tigers are in position to make a charge at the regular-season title. After losing to Northeastern last week, the Tigers rebounded for a quality win against Delaware on Wednesday and then blew out James Madison on Saturday, 73-47.

Benimon paced Towson and scored a game-high 19 points on 8-12 shooting as the Tigers shocked Delaware 66-63 making key plays down the stretch. Towson carried this momentum into its matchup with JMU as Benimon, Jerome Hairston and Bilal Dixon all scored a game-high 13 points, while the Tigers only allowed one Duke to score in double figures in a suffocating defensive effort.

Towson gets back at it against George Mason (4-2) on Wednesday. The Tigers also have a date in Williamsburg, Va.  to take on William and Mary (1-5) on Saturday.

George Mason University:

3rd place, W-L: 11-7 (4-2); Last Week: 2-0

Hashtags: #heavyweight #tourneypedigree  #whathaveyoudoneformelately

Entering this week the Patriots enter play two games back of the conference-leading Huskies. Last week George Mason kept pace by beating Hofstra, 57-46, on Saturday behind leading scorer Sherrod Wright and his 21 points. This contest came on the heals of the Patriots’ 68-57 win over lowly James Madison last Tuesday.

This week the Patriots have a chance to gain ground as they play the two teams they are looking up at with Towson (5-1) on Tuesday and a Sunday showdown at Northeastern (7-0) on NBC Sports Network.

University of Delaware:

4th place, W-L: 8-10 (3-2); Last Week: 0-2

Hashtags: #1stinscoring #BIGlosses #nomoremrnicehen #saddle’rup

Delaware, picked by many to lead the conference, missed an opportunity to gain early control of the CAA with two home losses coming at the hands of Towson and Northeastern, on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively. Delaware allowed the Tigers to shoot 48% from the floor in a 69-66 loss, and followed up with another missed chance against the Huskies. Northeastern had run up a 17-point second-half lead that the Blue Hens cut to just four, but could not bridge the gap and fell 74-70.

This week the Blue Hens have an easy stretch with just one game on Wednesday against James Madison (3-3).

Georgia State:

5th place, W-L: 9-11 (3-3); Last Week: 3-0

Hashtags:  #goodweek #aberration? #R #J #nuffsaid

The Panthers picked up a big statement win in Maryland as they upended second-place Towson 71-69 Monday night. Georgia State was lead by R.J. Hunter and his game-high 27 points. Before this game the Panthers had been taking advantage of CAA bottom-feeders William and Mary and Old Dominion for a couple of cupcake victories this week to narrowly jump ahead of James Madison for the last spot on the ladder.

Georgia State won big at home against the Tribe on Wednesday, 74-58, before taking the show up to Norfolk, Va. to dispatch ODU, 69-54. The Panthers will return home for a date with UNCW (2-3) on Wednesday before finishing the week in Philadelphia, Pa. for a match-up with Drexel (2-3).

- Alex LaCasse (@Al3x_Lacasse)

Alex LaCasse Basketball, The Dog Pound ,

CAA Prevew: James Madison Dukes

September 25th, 2012

Last Year: 12-20 Overall 5-13 (CAA) 8th place in the CAA

What Happened: The 2011-2012 season went as many predicted it would for the Dukes. James Madison played well out of conference, going 7-7, but the CAA was just too much for the Dukes. They had only one win of note during conference play, taking down UNC-Wilmington on January 18th. That win also represented their only victory over a team that finished ahead of them in the standings. JMU ended the season going 3-14 in their last 17 games, with two of those wins coming against last place Towson. James Madison was a top-five CAA team in offense last year, averaging 66.1 points per game in 2011-12. But defense was an issue for the Dukes, as they allowed almost 70 points a game on average.

Key Losses

  • Humpty Hitchens: The team’s second leading scorer at 15 ppg, Hitchens was also a playmaker. He finished in the top 10 in three statistical categories in the CAA, leading the conference in minutes played and three pointers made per game. Hitchens will be a huge loss for this team, as he was their best all around player last year and grabbed third-team All-CAA honors. The Dukes will have to find a new way to create offense in his absence.
  • Julius Wells: Wells ended up being one of the most missed players for JMU last year and he will be missed just as much with his graduation this coming season. Missing time last year due to a viral infection and only playing 12 games, Wells still led the team in rebounding at 5.6 boards per game.  Two years removed from averaging over 16 points per game, his production and leadership will be missed. He finished his career in the top ten all-time for scoring at JMU in scoring and also second in three pointers made in a career.

Key Returnees:

  • A.J. Davis: The Dukes will not need anyone to step up more this year than Davis. After sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer regulations, Davis was a key part of the Dukes offense last year. He averaged 16 ppg, Davis ranked fourth in the CAA in scoring. With a mix of size and shooting ability, Davis is your prototypical shooting guard who can slash through the middle but also shoot the three when needed. Look for Davis to be more consistent through the year and have many strong performances.
  • Andrey Semenov: Semenov brings a unique style of basketball to the Dukes. Standing at 6-7 and 205, pounds he is undersized for a forward but he makes up for it in his ability to spread the defense. He causes match-up problems against bigger, slower forwards which lets him to be able to get space and hit the open jump shot. Last year, Semenov was second in the CAA in three point percentage hitting 44% of his shots from beyond the arc.

Outlook: James Madison shows some promise for 2012-13, but without any improvement on defense it will likely still be a long season in Harrisonburg. The Dukes will be able to spread most defenses with their ability to shoot the three. The thing they need to work on is crashing the offensive boards and limiting the chances for other teams to fast break. If Semenov and Davis continue to progress and excel as seniors, the Dukes may have a chance to make a splash in a weakened CAA. But unless they can get their defense on the level with the rest of the CAA look for them to have a very similar year in 2012-13 compared to what they had in 2011-12.

- Chris Tramontozzi

WRBB Sports Basketball, Fall Sports , ,

CAA Preview: UNCW Seahawks

September 18th, 2012

Last Year: 10-21 Overall (5-13 CAA) tied for 8th in the CAA, Beat James Madison in the first round, 70-50, before losing to top-seeded Drexel in the quarterfinals.

What Happened: After opening the season with five straight non-conference loses, it seemed that the Seahawks were going to take a step backwards in Buzz Peterson’s second year. They seemed to turn things around midway through the year and were able to put together a four-game win streak, three of which were against conference foes. However, after that nice stretch very little seemed to go right for UNCW as the Seahawks fell apart down the stretch, winning only three of their final 17 games. Peterson will be looking to improve on the only defense in the CAA that allowed more than 70 PPG. Luckily, all is not lost for a team that seems to be on the rise as they finished third in both three-point % and offensive rebounds.

Key Losses:

  • Adam Smith (G): The high-scoring guard elected to transfer to Virginia Tech, despite being poised to be one of UNCW’s next stars. Smith finished his freshman season with the Seahawks with 425 total points, placing him second all-time for freshmen at the school. He also broke the single-game points record for freshmen by netting 32 points in a loss to Wake Forest. He finished the season as the top rookie scorer in the CAA with 13.2 PPG  and was selected to the CAA All-Conference rookie team. He did seem to struggle down the stretch and seemed tired after his first year at the collegiate level.
  • K.K. Simmons (G): Simmons is another transfer loss for Peterson, as he departs for Kent State after starting 12 of the first 22 games. He was subsequently suspended by Peterson for three games and only returned as a reserve. Simmons was productive with the Seahawks, finishing the year fourth in scoring with 7.1 ppg.
  • Donte Morales (F): Another transfer loss for Peterson’s Seahawks, as Morales made his move to be closer to home at Norfolk State. Morales started 23 of 28 games in which he appeared. He finished as the season third in scoring with 7.2 ppg and 3.2 rpg. The sophomore will be looking for a clean start after being arrested on a drug-related felony by police in June.

Key Returnees/Additions:

  • Keith Rendleman (F): He finished the year as an All-CAA First Team selection, in addition to being only the third player in Seahawk history to finish the season by averaging a double-double (15.3 ppg & 10.0 rpg). He broke all kinds of school records, and now sits 21st all-time for scoring with 1,005 points with the opportunity to finish his career fifth all time. There were some rumblings that he would redshirt given UNCW’s academic woes, but he seems amped to finish his career this year and might be able to make an NBA team.
  • Craig Ponder (G): Ponder seemed ready to lead the Seahawks as a freshman point guard. However, a devastating ankle injury kept him out all year after playing just four games. Peterson had expected him to be their best on-ball defender as well as the catalyst for the young offense. He was averaging 5 PPG and 3 assists per game. It will be very interesting to see how he returns and if his mobility will return.
  • C.J. Gettys (C): The incoming freshman should provide the Seahawks with a new dimension as one of the few 7-foot tall players in the conference. He graduated from Findlay High School in Ohio averaging 20.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 2 blocks a game. He should provide UNCW with an inside presence that could potentially free up Rendleman down low.

Outlook: Peterson is quoted as hoping that this year will be “the rock bottom” for UNCW basketball. They have spent all summer dealing with the NCAA Committee of Academic Performance, hoping to raise their team’s GPA enough to be eligible for postseason play. But the NCAA has held up its ruling that they will be ineligible for postseason play this year. This disaster has sent some of their better players running for new teams, and nearly had their best player redshirting. While it is sad to see someone with NBA-level talent in Rendleman playing on a losing team, I see no other result for the Seahawks but once again finishing in the bottom of the league.

- Brandon Challener

WRBB Sports Basketball, Fall Sports , ,

CAA Preview: William & Mary Tribe

September 11th, 2012

Last Year: 6-26 Overall (4-14 CAA) 10th in the CAA, Lost to Northeastern in the first round.

What Happened: Let’s start with some positives. Out of the six wins that William & Mary got last season, four of them were conference games including a 25-point win against Northeastern, the team that eventually knocked them out of the CAA tournament. Despite losing their first two CAA games by a combined score of 46 points, the Tribe lost five out of their remaining 11 regular season conference games by five or less points. This includes a two-point loss to first place Drexel and a 1-point loss to the CAA champs, VCU. Despite this, the lackluster offense and inconsistent defense of William & Mary could not get it done. If not for Towson, the 60.3 points-a-game scored by the Tribe would be the worst in the CAA.

Key Losses:

  • Quinn McDowell (G/F): Good luck filling this gap. McDowell departs from William & Mary as its all-time leader in games and minutes played. His senior year didn’t lack in achievements as the two-time captain became the first two-time winner of the CAA Dean Ehlers Leadership Award and the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the year. The 12.5 points and 4.7 rebounds a game also earned him a spot on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award All-America Second Team. McDowell also became the fourth player in William & Mary history to score 1,500 career points and pull down 500 rebounds.
  • Kendrix Brown (G): While Marcus Thornton and McDowell produced most of William & Mary’s backcourt scoring, Brown got the job done as far as defense. The two-time captain received team awards for Defensive Award and the Mark Batzel Award, which is given to a player that displays leadership, determination, mental toughness, and heart. He is also just one of 13 players in program history to record 200 career assists and 100 career steals. During his senior campaign, Brown started 24 of 30 games, averaging 4 points and a career-high 4.3 rebounds a game.
  • JohnMark Ludwick (F): Ludwick missed most of his senior season due to injury but did manage to play six of the final seven games. The shooter finished his career at W&M ranking fourth in career three-point field goal percentage (38.9 percent), 15th in three-pointers made per game (1.08), and 19th in total 3-pointers (77). Ludwick averaged 3.9 points and 1.5 rebounds over his career.

Key Returnees/Additions:

  • Marcus Thornton (G): Remember that gap left by McDowell? If anyone’s going to fill it, it’s going to be Marcus Thornton. The guard is coming off an outstanding rookie campaign in which his 11.1 points a game (ranked 23rd in the CAA) was second on the Tribe only to McDowell. Thornton, one of the more athletic guards in the CAA, tallied a career high 28 points against VCU, scoring the most points for a W&M freshman since 2005.
  • Tim Rusthoven (F): After missing the first six games of his sophomore year due to injury, the third best scorer on W&M started 24 of his final 26 appearances while scoring 10.3 points a game.  He also pulled down 6.6 rebounds a game (11th in the CAA), 2.3 of which came on the offensive glass (12th in the CAA). The incoming junior showed he could be efficient with his offense, ranking third in the CAA in field goal percentage (54.5).
  • Sean Sheldon (F): The incoming freshman should help out the Tribe in the frontcourt. The 6’9 freshman averaged 21 points and 11 rebounds in his senior campaign earning him the ESPN.com ranking of 116th best power forward in the country.

Outlook: The Tribe proved last year that they could hang with some of the CAA’s best last season and this was with some of their best players (with the exception of McDowell) lacking experience. Now that those players have at least a year under their belt, they should show improvement. However, W&M was the second worst scoring team in the CAA last season and unless they can produce an offense that’s not just “give the ball to Marcus” they are going to find themselves once again in the bottom of the standings.

-Zolan Kanno-Youngs

WRBB Sports Basketball , ,

CAA Preview: Towson Tigers

August 28th, 2012

First up in our CAA previews are the Towson Tigers. After such a miserable 2011-12, it can’t get any worse for them can it?

Last Year: 1-31, Last in the CAA, Lost to Delaware in the first round of the CAA Tournament.

What Happened: The 2011-2012 season for the Towson Tigers ranks among the worst seasons in college basketball history. It was a rebuilding year for the Tigers as long time coach Pat Kennedy left after the 2010-2011 season. Towson finished that season on a 19 game losing streak. Pat Skerry assumed the position as the head coach. Same first name, same result. Towson finished the season 1-31. It took the Tigers until January 28th to get their first and only win, as they lost 22 consecutive games before taking down UNC-Wilmington. If you are keeping count, that is 41 straight losses over two seasons. Towson ended the year on a nine game losing streak which was capped off by a loss to the Delaware Blue Hens in the CAA Tournament.

Key Losses:

  • Robert Nwanko (F) – One of the few bright spots on the team last year was this man Robert Nwanko. His exit will leave a huge hole in the middle for Towson. On the rebounding front Nwanko was a man on a mission. He averaged over 10 rebounds per game (10.1) which ranked him 2nd in the CAA in rebounding. He was also tied as the teams leading scorer at 12.5 points per game.
  • Deon Jones (G) – Towson was dealt a difficult blow with the transfer of Deon Jones. He was one of the few young players on this team that had Towson fans looking forward to the next few years. He was third on the team in both points per game and rebounds as a freshman. He will play for Monmouth next season after sitting out this year due to NCAA transfer rules and regulations.

Key Returnees:

  • Kris Walden (G) – As a freshman, Walden was Towson’s team leader in assists, which is very impressive for such a young player. He will be expected to pick up a bigger role as one of the best returning players on this team. He will need to score more often and become the Tiger’s leader in the backcourt. Hopefully for Towson he does not have a sophomore slump as that could leave this team without many backcourt options.
  • Marcus Damas (F) – No one is more important to the Tigers then Damas. He was tied for leading in scoring with Nwanko last year as a sophomore. He is the player that is expected to be the leader. Damas is a unique player that stands at 6ft 7inches but can dribble and shoot extremely well. He had a career high six three-point field goals in a game against Drexel. Look for Damas to have a strong season as the leader of Towson.

Outlook: This season looks like it will be another struggle for the young and inexperienced Tigers. Skerry’s system will have another year to set in and hopefully for him the result is more wins. The biggest thing to watch for is Towson’s losing streak. It currently sits at night, but how bad will it get this season? The CAA is always a tough conference and with only one conference win in the last two years, it will remain tough even with the changes. The hope for Towson is to be competitive and to fight tough in all games. If you were looking at the Tigers to be a surprise pick in the CAA don’t bank on it. This team will just get by until there new arena opens next year. Here’s hoping the new facilities get some much needed talent into this program.

- Chris Tramontozzi

WRBB Sports Basketball , ,

Georgia State leaving CAA; Conference exit fee to increase

April 4th, 2012

The Colonial Athletic Association is changing, make no mistake about it. The question, however, is how much change there will be. Conflicting reports have surfaced recently over who is going where in the never-ending carousel that is conference realignment, but sources tell WRBB Sports that Georgia State University will leave for the Sun Belt Conference in 2013-14 while George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University will remain with the CAA for the foreseeable future.

Over the past few days and weeks, there have been whispers then roars of VCU and George Mason leaving for the Atlantic 10. Those were followed by vehement denials from both athletic departments, as well as CAA commissioner Tom Yeager in a conference call on March 26. In that call, the league’s head honcho stated that there had been no conversations between any of the Colonial’s 12 members and any other conference, and that there had not been any discussions with other institutions about adding to the CAA’s roster of universities.

Just days after that call, CBS Sports reported that Georgia State University was a “leading candidate” to join the Sun Belt Conference. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GSU Athletic Director Cheryl Levick informed Yeager of the talks after the March 26 media teleconference. Yesterday, Brett McMurphy followed up his report from last week with a statement that administrators within the Sun Belt and its schools had voted to invite the Panthers to join their ranks, though no invitation had been formally extended. The AJC’s Doug Roberson wrote on Tuesday that, according to Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson, such a vote had not taken place and that a previously scheduled trip to GSU’s Atlanta campus on Thursday had been postponed. It was expected that the formal invitation would be offered at that time. An earlier article from McMurphy is what heated up the talks of VCU and George Mason leaving for the Atlantic 10, along with current Horizon League member Butler.

If Georgia State does leave in 2013 as one source reported, it would mean the school’s football team will compete in the CAA for just one season before jumping. Regardless of the timing of the invitation and departure, it seems as though it is simply a matter of when rather than if.

According to conference bylaws, and confirmed by Yeager in the March 26 call, any school that has announced that it is leaving the league will not be eligible for the conference’s playoffs the preceding year. Since it is a new program, GSU would also be ineligible to compete for a Sun Belt championship and would be ineligible to play in a bowl game during the 2013 season.

They would also not be allowed to participate in the 2013 CAA basketball tournament, which could feature only nine teams with possible NCAA sanctions coming against UNCW and Towson due to issues with the Academic Progress Rate.

What isn’t clear is how much Georgia State will have to pay in order to get out of the CAA. For years, the conference’s exit fee has been set at $250,000. Recently, there have been increased talks of upping that fee to seven figures, in the range of $1 million to $1.5 million. That number would be comparable to the $1 million that Temple University is expected to pay the Atlantic 10 when it leaves for the Big East, in addition to the $6 million that the school will pay the Mid-American Conference, where Temple football had been competing since 2007. If Georgia State receives its invitation this week, before next week’s expected vote to increase the exit fee, they could save upwards of $1 million by announcing its exit early. Some sources say there will be a vote in the early half of next week, while others confirmed discussion but denied that a vote was actually scheduled.

Multiple sources have said that the idea of increasing the fee is not a new one, as administrators from at least one of the major Virginia schools have been spearheading the effort for a year or more. The move reportedly has overwhelming support among conference athletic directors and presidents, and while not unanimous it should easily pass. Between that information and the fact that the CAA will be doling out its annual checks from the NCAA that are especially large as a result of the conference’s success, including VCU’s Final Four run, in the 2011 national tournament, it seems unlikely that VCU or GMU would leave. One source also said he was told that Butler would be the only addition to the Atlantic 10, replacing Temple, and that neither VCU nor George Mason would be leaving the CAA anytime soon. A source also cited the conference’s Virginia base, with five members from the state and the basketball tournament being held in Richmond, as additional reasons that both schools would stay.

Once Georgia State leaves, the Colonial Athletic Association will be left with 11 full-membership schools. Only five of those remaining members sponsor a football team, including Delaware, James Madison, Old Dominion, Towson, and William & Mary. There are an additional five associate members in CAA Football, including Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Richmond, and Villanova. However, Rhode Island will be dropping down to the reduced-scholarship Northeast Conference and will leave the CAA with nine football teams. From a scheduling perspective, that would allow each team to play every other team once during the season and play three non-conference games for an 11-game slate.

On the basketball side, things are a little bit more complicated. It is unclear whether or not the conference would look to add another university to replace Georgia State or if it would sit on an odd number of members. Though the current membership consists of both public and private schools, large and small, and geographically ranges from Boston to Wilmington, N.C. once GSU leaves, finding a strong fit could still prove difficult. Presidents and athletic directors would need to find a school that philosophically matches the ideals of the 11 remaining universities, both academically and athletically. Among others, some names that have been bandied about include Boston University, University of Rhode Island, Stony Brook University, Fordham University, George Washington University, University of Richmond, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, College of Charleston, and Coastal Carolina. For various reasons, some more obvious than others, many of these schools have been dismissed as unlikely to leave their current affiliations for Colonial membership or to be accepted by CAA institutions. One source fully expects that UNC Charlotte will eventually join Georgia State in the Sun Belt, as the 49ers have plans to field a football program beginning in the 2013 season.

There are still many questions left to be answered, and additional sources have been contacted for more information. Others have declined comment. As more information becomes available, it will be posted on wrbbsports.com. For up-to-the-minute information, follow @CAA_FCP and @wrbbsports on Twitter.

Andy Towne Basketball ,

Off The Wires: VCU, GMU, GSU, and UConn add to NU-related realignment talk

March 28th, 2012

Conference realignment may be picking up once again. On Sunday, CBS Sports’ Brett McMurphy reported that informal discussions were taking place between VCU, George Mason, and the Atlantic 10 conference for a possible move in 2013. VCU and Mason, of course, have both made the final four in the [admittedly infrequent] years that the CAA has received multiple bids to the NCAA tournament. Adding to the fodder was Duquesne’s president, after firing coach Ron Everhart:

Duquesne president Charles J. Dougherty mentioned the A-10′s plans for expansion in an email he sent to his board of trustees explaining his decision to fire basketball coach Ron Everhart. The email was obtained by CBSSports.com. “The A10 conference itself is on the verge of a major improvement with the addition of new high quality university programs,” Dougherty wrote. “All of this amounts to an exciting professional opportunity for a new coach.”

On Wednesday, news broke that Georgia State was in discussions with the Sun Belt conferencel. The move would be primarily motivated by GSU’s football program, which since its inception has been thought of as leverage for GSU to move to an FBS-participating conference. A move, reported by McMurphy, would come as early as 2013.

The Sun Belt is strongly considering extending an invitation to Georgia State and the parties have had informal discussions. An invitation could occur in the coming weeks with Georgia State a possibility to be added to the league as early as 2013, sources said.

While Georgia State would compress the conference’s geographic spread, the loss of VCU and Mason on the basketball side would be seismic shifts for competitiveness in the league. Adding to the unease is the sense that Old Dominion and James Madison are beefing up football programs, aiming at the FBS. While most of the discussion is conjecture and speculation, it’s a fascinating glimpse at conference realignment which is still unfolding. Mike Litos, as always, has a calm and reasoned discussion about why a move from VCU and Mason won’t come for at least another few months.

Hockey got a dose of realignment talk on Wednesday as well. UConn, which had recently hired a consultant to evaluate its hockey program, is reportedly applying to become Hockey East’s 12th team in 2013, as reported by College Hockey News:

Connecticut is believed to be the first choice among a large majority of the conference’s athletic directors. It is a natural fit because it is a state school in New England, a la Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Mass.-Lowell and Vermont. And Connecticut’s women’s program currently plays in Hockey East.

A 12th team would move the number of conference game to 22 (teams would play each other twice each season), increasing the non-league games by 5. UConn’s main hurdle is its arena: they currently play at the small Frietas Ice Forum, which holds less than 2,000 spectators, inadequate for Hockey East’s arena standards.

WRBB Sports Basketball, Football, Hockey , , , , ,

CAA Tournament Live Blog: Day Four

March 5th, 2012


It’s championship Monday in the CAA. Yesterday Old Dominion and George Mason were eliminated in semifinal action, and now only two teams remain, each vying for a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

Tonight’s title tilt will pit #1 Drexel against #2 VCU at 7 p.m. The Dragons and Rams both have 27 wins on the season, but it’s win number 28 that will send them dancing into March. The loser may still get in as an at-large choice, but that’s a scenario both squads would like to avoid.

For coverage of tonight’s game follow WRBB Sports and CAA Full Court Press on Twitter. Patrick McHugh, Andy Towne and Alex Faust will be inside the Richmond Coliseum to update you on the action.

Patrick McHugh Basketball , ,