Sunday, March 05, 2006

CAA Tournament: Day Three

Game 9: Playing against the stingy defense of the Seahawks of UNC-Wilmington, Jose Juan Berea, pictured left, scored 17 points and dished out five assists for Northeastern. Sounds good, but with what he got in the way of help from his teammates it wasn't nearly enough to extend the Huskies run in the CAA tournament: UNC W 69, Northeastern 54.

Perhaps the six-for-19 field goal performance from the league's 2006 Player of the Year, Berea, was really the more telling stat. Wilmington, which earned a first-round bye, thus advances to tomorrow night's championship game by defeating an opponent playing for the third consecutive day.

The victorious Seahawks were paced by Beckham Wyrick's 11 points/17 rebounds and Todd Headley's 14 points/nine rebounds.

Game 10: Carlos Rivera played every minute of the game, scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in leading Hofstra to a place in the championship game, the last CAA men’s basketball game of the 2005/06 campaign: Hofstra 58, Geo. Mason 49.

Now the scenario that will test the expanded CAA's supposedly improved clout. In some minds George Mason's record (23-7) and RPI standing (No. 23 in last week's index) merit an at-large invitation to the Big Dance. Now the CAA's champ, with the automatic bid, will either be Hofstra or Wilmington.

So, will Mason get the call? The last time the CAA got two berths in the NCAA tournament was in 1986. Navy, led by David Robinson, won the postseason tournament and the University of Richmond was the at-large team invited. Actually, that's the only time it has happened in the league's history.

Game 11, the Final Round, to be played on Mon., Mar. 6:

The CAA tournament's championship game will begin at 7 p.m. at the Richmond Coliseum. It will pit the event's No. 3 seed, Hofstra (24-5), against the No. 1 seed, UNC-W (24-7). The Seahawks have won the CAA tournament three times (2000, 2002, 2003). Hofstra became a member of the CAA for the 2001/02 season; this is its first appearance in the league's championship match-up. ESPN will carry the contest live.

Prediction No 3: In the last game Wilmington's depth should be a factor.


Fearless Freep said...

Fatigue played a part here, especially in the final 10 minutes or so, but UNCW's defense and smart passing walloped a one-note team. The Seahawks let off the gas late and could have easily piled up a 20-25-point margin.

By the way, who wrote this CAA tournament song? It makes the awful "Do you, VCU?" sound like Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

Feel the Teal!

F.T. Rea said...

Richmond basketball fans "feel the teal" every year at this time. UNC Wilmington always travels well, probably better than any school in the CAA.