Drexel, the reigning CAA regular season champs, were four points away from making it to the NCAA tournament last year, and by retaining four of their five starters from last season, the Dragons are poised to run the conference this season.
The Dragons were followed by a rising Delaware team that has two of the top three-ranked players in the CAA in Devon Saddler and Jamelle Hagins. The Blue Hens figure to challenge Drexel for the top spot in the conference, and could step into the top spot should the Dragons falter this year.
Here's the entire 2012-13 CAA Men's Basketball predicted order of finish:
3. George Mason
4. Old Dominion
6. James Madison
8. Georgia State
9. William & Mary
The media day announcement also included the preseason all-conference teams, and named Drexel's Frantz Massenat the CAA preseason player of the year.
The all-conference first team (which had six players on it) includes the aforementioned Hagins and Saddler of Delaware, Massenat and Damion Lee of Drexel, Keith Rendleman of UNC-Wilmington, and Jonathan Lee of Northeastern.
It's interesting to look at this list versus our Mid-Major Madness CAA Top 10; our top five players are on the first team, as well as our eighth-ranked player in Drexel's Lee.
One of the surprising omissions by the committee from the top 11 players was Northeastern's Joel Smith. The senior, who averaged 12.9 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game last season, was featured as the seventh-ranked player on Mid-Major Madness's list, and yet was relegated to honorable mention.
I'll be curious to see which Joel Smith shows up this year: one who uses last season's disappointing shooting as motivation, or one who watches the downward trends continue.
We think the former, but hey, that's why they play the games. Northeastern tips off their season November 9, at Boston University.