CAA Power Rankings: Super Saturday Disrupts Everybody, Everything

Mike Stobe

As Vice Presidential candidate James Stockdale famously offered in his introduction in 1992, “Who am I? Why am I here?” The entire Colonial Athletic Association feels the same way, one day removed from a wild and discombobulating Saturday of conference action.

1. Northeastern (9-7, 4-0)

The game against Drexel was a little too difficult for the Huskies' liking, but with its convincing win over Towson on Super Saturday, Northeastern has convinced me of their elite status in the Colonial: this is the best team.

Sure, they are still a little hot and cold at times, but the Huskies have the depth to counterbalance the inconsistency.

Against Drexel, for example, neither Joel Smith nor Jonathan Lee -- the team's top two scorers -- eclipsed double digits, yet Quincy Ford and Reggie Spencer contributed 31, including Ford's clutch 3-pointer to force overtime.

Against Towson, Smith came back with a vengeance, putting up 21 points with 60 percent efficiency when Lee and Spencer couldn't find their range.

And this is why the Huskies are currently my favorites to win the conference: even if their entire team can't get it together all at once, they have each other's back game in and game out.

2. George Mason (9-7, 2-2)

Yesterday, which will be henceforth known as Super Saturday, sent shockwaves through the Colonial's hierarchy, including at the very top.

After their commanding win against Old Dominion, in which the team scored 71 despite Sherrod Wright only contributing one, it seemed that the Patriots had found some semblance of depth and were ready to put another winning streak together.

Instead, they fell to UNC-Wilmington in an inexplicable demonstration of ineptitude from every player not named Wright, and the Patriots lost their spot atop these Power Rankings for the first time in two months.

While Wright put in 25 points on 50 percent shooting, the rest of the team gave 49 points on 39 percent shooting.

Remember that 7-4 start this team had? Remember how well they played against premier nonconference teams? They now look vulnerable in an ever-shifting conference. Nobody is safe.

3. Delaware (8-8, 3-0)

Delaware's second eight games of the season is an exact inverse of its first eight, and it is trending in the right direction.

After their three-point victory against Georgia State, the Blue Hens have won five in a row and are starting to look like the team we all expected out of the gate but didn't see materialize until the last month or so.

Devon Saddler, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer in Saturday's victory, is averaging 26.3 points per game over the Hens' last three contests. What's even more exciting is that he's scored those points with 75.24 percent efficiency.

That's an astronomical figure for a guy who started his season in the 40 percent range efficiency wise. He's starting to look like the player I expected to see when I placed him atop my CAA player rankings.

It doesn't even matter that Jamelle Hagins hasn't had a double-double in their last two games. When you have Saddler and Jarvis Threatt going like they are, Hagins can sit back and just enjoy the show.

4. James Madison (9-8, 3-1)

You know who's doing good things? The Dukes. They're 6-2 in their last eight games, and with seven players on their team averaging over 5 points per game, they have a chance to win any game they're playing in as the CAA season continues.

Just an example of their offense's depth: in the game against UNC-Wilmington, a 78-50 victory, Rayshawn Goins, Andre Nation, and A.J. Davis all scored in double digits while Devon Moore and Taylor Bessick combined for six points.

And then, in the win against Drexel on Saturday, Goins scored in double digits again, but this time had Moore equal his total and Bessick contribute nine of his own.

They have a system going that is extremely similar to that of Northeastern: not every player will have his best game each night. But as long as a few do, this team can win a bunch of games. The upcoming contest against George Mason will show just how real the Dukes are.

5. Towson (8-9, 3-1)

Before their demoralizing loss to Northeastern on Super Saturday, the Tigers took down William & Mary in double overtime with easily their most statistically impressive game of the season.

Jerrelle Benimon put in 26 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and had seven(!) blocks in a dominating performance as he continued to bolster his campaign for the best forward in the conference. The Tigers finished in double digits in every category on the box score -- aided by the extra overtime -- and are finally starting to see scoring help materialize.

Marcus Damas and Benimon are still the premier offensive outlets for the team though, and somebody needs to remind Mike Burwell of this fact.

Yes, his 18 points in the win over William & Mary were much appreciated. But his nine 3-point attempts in the following loss to Northeastern? Not so much. Especially since he only made one of them. The ball belongs to Benimon and Damas on this team.

However, if their supporting cast continues to pitch in, the Tigers should remain competitive as the season progresses.

6. William & Mary (7-8, 1-3)

I remember when the Tribe were second in these rankings. At 7-3, they seemed impervious to the "level of competition" argument.

Apparently their non-conference schedule was even more of a cream puff farce than we originally thought, because they've now lost five straight games, their most recent loss coming to a Hofstra team that was 1-9 in its previous 10.

Even with Brandon Britt stepping up against the Pride and dropping 21 points, the Tribe are falling apart at the seams. The duo of Tim Rusthoven and Marcus Thornton only contributed 24 points on 36.36 percent efficiency.

The most worrying stat of all? The Tribe entered the contest averaging nearly 70 points per game, and Hofstra had allowed 60-plus in 12 of its15 games this season. William and Mary only managed 59. Talk about regression.

The Borderline

UNC-Wilmington put themselves atop the sub-Borderline group with an absolutely out-of-nowhere victory against George Mason. You know, the team that had held the top ranking here for two months? The Seahawks out-rebounded the Patriots by 23 on Super Saturday, and it didn't hurt that freshman guard Chris Dixon, averaging 5.7 points per game, scored 30 with 75 percent efficiency.

How about the Hofstra Pride? In quite the turnaround after an absolutely abysmal eight-game stretch, the Pride have won two of their last three games, including beating a William & Mary team once considered to be towards the top of the league. How? Taran Buie and Stevie Mejia in the last three games: 78 combined points.

Georgia State fought valiantly against Delaware and almost had their own taste of Super Saturday success, but ultimately came up short against Saddler and the Blue Hens despite playing a great game. The Panthers are going through a rough patch with only one win in the last eight games as they continue to struggle to find scoring help for their big three.

Drexel fell to James Madison, only managing 43 points, as the Dragons' nightmare season continued. They played without leading scorer Damion Lee and leading rebounder Daryl McCoy against the Dukes in addition to already being short one Chris Fouch all year. Injuries and inefficient shooting have sunk the Dragons' season.

Only one team has hurt more than Drexel, and that would be 2-14 Old Dominion, keeping the basement of the CAA warm. They were manhandled by George Mason even though Wright only scored one point due entirely to the fact that the Monarchs only made 25 percent of their shots. 25 percent. That's all I have.

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