Among the many beautiful things about March Madness is the notion that any team can make it. Every conference gets one automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. Most automatic bids are awarded to the winner of each respective conference tournament. Each article will preview a different conference tournament with a full bracket breakdown.
8 Elon def. 9 Towson
10 UNC Wilmington def. 7 William & Mary
1 James Madison def. 8 Elon
4 Hofstra def. 5 Delaware
2 Northeastern def. 10 UNC Wilmington
6 Drexel def. 3 Charleston
4 Hofstra def. 1 James Madison
2 Northeastern def. 6 Drexel
4 Hofstra def. 2 Northeastern
Of the three conference tournaments starting up on Saturday, the CAA offers by far the most excitement. A conference that has been ravaged by COVID postponements and cancellations now has half a dozen teams with a legitimate shot at earning the automatic bid. In that regard, the Hofstra Pride have one clear advantage over most teams: games played. They only had one conference game get canceled and it was their season finale at Elon. The Pride also have a three-headed monster of upperclassmen. Jalen Ray is the third highest per game scorer in the CAA and Isaac Kante averages a double double. Tareeq Coburn has been a strong secondary scoring chipping in over 14 points per game as well. With James Madison missing their star player and a handful of other teams coming off of weeks without play, Hofstra can capitalize with a third consecutive CAA finals appearance.
The Dragons spent almost three weeks away from basketball only to finish their regular season with one final game: an 84-78 win over James Madison. Drexel leads the conference in field goal percentage and free throw percentage which should be conducive to close game success. Their first matchup against Charleston is bound to be close after their first two meetings were settled by a combined six points. James Butler and Camren Wynter have led the way this season combining for over 60 points per game. KenPom ratings have Drexel as the strongest team in the conference so there’s a fighting chance. The Dragons haven’t won three straight since the beginning of January making their A game a must.
Matchup to Watch
Hofstra vs Delaware
For all of the value Hofstra possesses, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if they lost in their first game. The Blue Hens are the best rebounding team in the CAA and shoot over 47% from the floor. Delaware’s Dylan Painter averages a monstrous 15 points and 13 rebounds per game in CAA play. In truth, Delaware has the talent to make a deep run but they haven’t played since January. With the Dukes missing Matt Lewis, the winner of this matchup looks to roll right into the conference finals. This will also be the third meeting between the Blue Hens and Pride. They split their regular season series and now have an intriguing rubber match with a lot at stake. Keep an eye on the Colonial tournament because the automatic bid could be a popular March Madness upset pick.
Featured Image courtesy of gohofstra.com
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