Monday, March 06, 2006

CAA Champs: UNC Wilmington

For the fourth time in the last seven years UNC Wilmington has come to Richmond in the first week of March and left town with a bid to the Big Dance in hand. The Seahawks took an early lead on the Hofstra Pride in the CAA championship tilt at the Coliseum, then withstood a furious second-half comeback -- UNCW hit 11 straight free throws down the stretch -- to win the tournament: UNCW 78, Hofstra 67.

Now Wilmington (25-7) must wait until Sunday, Mar. 12, for the NCAA's selection committee to name its opponent and the site of their first-round match-up.

The Seahawks were once again paced their junior guard T.J. Carter, 6-3, 195, who scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Carter's 52 points and 26 rebounds in three games made him an easy choice as the event's Most Valuable Player. Beckham Wyrick scored 12 points; Wyrick and John Goldsberry, who added nine points and 10 assists, both earned all-tournament honors, too.

Hofstra was paced by Loren Stokes' 26 points and Carlos Rivera's 16. Both were named to the official all-tournament team, as well as Northeastern's Shawn James.

Hofstra (24-6) will be considered a team "on the bubble" until the field of 65 for the NCAAs is announced. Due to its improved national standing the CAA seems poised to join the conferences which send more than one member to the NCAA tournament.

George Mason (23-6), because of its sudden fall from grace in Richmond, may have popped its bubble. Tony Skinn's now infamous deliberate punch below the belt of Hofstra's Stokes, documented by the camera on Sunday night, certainly won't help the Patriots' cause. Thus, Mason may have to forget expectations and settle for a trip to the NIT.

Whereas, ODU (21-9) surely will hear from the NIT's committee and be glad for a chance to play again. Northeastern (19-11) and VCU (19-10) are waiting, hoping to hear from anybody.

1 comment:

Fearless Freep said...

O Lord, we thank thee for T.J. Carter.

Oh, and that I didn't suffer a heart attack during Hofstra's rally.