Sunday, March 05, 2006

CAA Tournament: Day Two

In the photograph above, shot at the 9:54 mark of the first half of game 6, Northeastern's shot-blocking sensation Shawn James (No. 21) was called for fouling ODU's Alex Loughton. It looked like all-ball to me. Nonetheless, the only upset of the second day of competition in the CAA's tournament at the Coliseum was the second game, in which Northeastern, seeded 5th, topped Old Dominion, the 4th seed.

The final scores for CAA Tournament Day Two were:

UNC-W 69, Delaware 56
Northeastern 71, ODU 63
Geo. Mason 61, Ga. State 56 (OT)
Hofstra 72, VCU 66

The top performances of Day Two, stats-wise, were:
Jose Juan Barea (Northeastern) - 20 points, 9 assists
Alex Loughton (ODU) - 14 points, nine rebounds
Jai Lewis (Geo. Mason) - 12 points, 13 rebounds
Antoine Agudio (Hofstra) - 34 points, 4 assists
Nick George (VCU) - 28 points, 12 rebounds
In the photograph above Geo. Mason's senior Jai Lewis, 6-7, 275, grabs a rebound with 1:20 remaining in regulation time of game 7.

If you draw a line from the top of the "5" you can see on Lewis' uniform horizontally to the right, the bald man sitting on the aisle in the stands is Coach Charles "Lefty" Driesell. At times it seemed Lefty, who once coached Georgia State, 1996-2003, was the only fan the Panthers from Atlanta had in the room. With attendance in mind, the CAA's officials had to be happy the heavily-favored Patriots escaped with a victory, as Mason is the only Virginia team remaining in the field of four.

Sunday's Schedule for Day Three:
Game 9 at 3:30 p.m. - Northeastern (19-10) vs. UNC-W (23-7)
Game 10 at 6 p.m. - Hofstra (23-5) vs. Geo. Mason (23-6)

Prediction No. 2: These four teams will all surely play more basketball after this tournament, somewhere. With this a particularly good year for the conference, RPI-wise, ODU (21-9) will probably look pretty good to the NIT, too. The Rams of VCU (19-10), the league's sixth place team, may even be on the NIT bubble. And, today I look for the two semi-final games to be low-scoring affairs.

If the refs let the defense-minded favorites, the Seahawks and Patriots, muscle their opponents, both could win convincingly by taking the air out of the ball. But if they can't shake the underdogs loose, if the games are called tight or shooters get hot, it could be trouble for the top-seeds in both cases. That's because the Huskies and the Pride both have all-star playmakers who can always get off a good shot.
Photo Credit: F.T. Rea

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