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Colonial Check-In: Northeastern on top after win over Hofstra

The preseason favorite, Northeastern, downed the streaking Hofstra Pride on Wednesday night to gain the top spot in this edition of the Colonial Athletic Association rankings. Meanwhile, Delaware sports its first winning streak of the season.

Northeastern Athletics

Coming into conference play, most followers of the CAA knew that the Northeastern Huskies would be hovering around the top of the standings. What many didn't know was how good Hofstra's backcourt would be.

We've noted the Pride's duo of Ameen Tanksley and Juan'ya Green several times over the past two weeks, and their play was the reason Hofstra sat in the number one spot two weeks ago.

On Wednesday evening, Hofstra went into Boston and gave Northeastern a run for their money in a high scoring affair. The Huskies, however, used a late 11-0 run to protect home court and give Hofstra their first conference loss, 91-83.

Northeastern's leading scorer, Scott Eatherton, turned in a 21-point performance in the win, while Green (21 points, 11 assists) and Tanksley (15 points, 11 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles.

The loss snapped Hofstra's six game winning streak.

Meanwhile, William & Mary won its first two conference games by an average of 28 points and are tied atop the standings with Northeastern and Hofstra, but sit in third in this week's rankings.

1. Northeastern Huskies (12-5, 4-1 CAA, LW- 2):

As noted above, the Huskies' win over the hottest team in the league cemented them as the team to beat in the CAA. Eatherton has turned in two 20-point performances and two double-doubles during the early part of conference play, averaging 16 points and nearly eight rebounds overall. To be a winning team, you must get contributions from everyone and Northeastern got a 16-point, 11-rebound, six assist game from sophomore T.J. Williams- his first collegiate double double- in the victory over Hofstra.

2. Hofstra Pride (13-5, 4-1 CAA, LW- 1):

Hofstra has only played one home game through two weeks of conference play, winning handedly over Delaware. They have taken business on the road, winning at UNCW, Charleston, Elon and Northeastern. It certainly helps when you have two players averaging 19 (Tanksley) and 18 (Green) points, respectively. These guys aren't just focused on scoring either, Tanksley averages over six boards while Green is dishing out over six assists per contest.

3. William & Mary Tribe (10-6, 4-1 CAA, LW- 6):

The fact that the Tribe had lost six straight games to Division I opponents before CAA play began didn't radiate the confidence that they would be a top-tier team in the Colonial. With a 30-point win over Charleston and a 26-point win over Elon to start their conference slate, William & Mary put those doubts to rest and look poised to hang with Northeastern and Hofstra at the top.

4. UNC Wilmington Seahawks (8-8, 3-2 CAA, LW- 8):

After hanging with Hofstra to open their CAA schedule, the Seahawks went to Boston and downed Northeastern by seven, earning UNCW the leap of the week. Their only other CAA loss was a four point defeat at William & Mary. Freddie Jackson is averaging nearly 17 points in his last four games to pace the Seahawks.

5. James Madison Dukes (9-8, 2-2 CAA, LW- 4):

The Dukes opened with wins against Towson and at Charleston before playing Northeastern and William & Mary tough in consecutive losses. They finally dropped Andre Nation from their roster just this week after multiple suspensions over the past two seasons. Without Nation, they score by committee, with three players averaging over 10 points per game.

6. Elon Phoenix (10-8, 2-3 CAA, LW- 3):

The CAA's newest member opened their inaugural conference schedule with a win at Drexel before beating William & Mary in their home opener. While dropping games at Towson and at Hofstra are understandable, they were manhandled at home by a previously winless Charleston team on Wednesday night. They are going to have their bumps in their first season (just ask last year's newbie, Charleston), but they shouldn't lose by 16 at home to a sub-500 team.

7. Delaware Blue Hens (3-12, 2-3 CAA, LW- 9):

After winning their first game against St. Bonaventure at the end of non-conference play, Delaware has played tough in the CAA so far. After big losses against Northeastern and at Hofstra, the Blue Hens lost by one in overtime at UNCW, beat the Cougars in Charleston and downed Towson at home. A great example of how being comfortable against conference foes can help tremendously.

8. Charleston Cougars (6-12, 1-4 CAA, LW- 7):

The Cougars stayed out of the cellar by beating Elon on the road on Wednesday night. Charleston has struggled to execute late in several games, blowing a halftime lead against James Madison, failing to score in the final minutes of a close loss to Hofstra and letting a struggling Delaware team gain momentum late. Scoring has been an issue for Charleston, but they could certainly use more 21-point performances from Canyon Barry.

9. Towson Tigers (8-10, 1-3 CAA, LW- 5):

Towson sits down here thanks to a home loss vs. Drexel and a loss to Delaware. The schedule doesn't get much easier for the Tigers either, playing William & Mary at home before going on the road to North Carolina for games at Elon and UNCW. John Davis continues to average 10 points and eight rebounds, primarily coming off the bench.

10. Drexel Dragons (3-12, 1-4 CAA, LW- 10)

Drexel suffered a blowout defeat against William & Mary in the CAA opener, but they recovered by going to Towson and beating the Tigers by 14. They struggled mightily before CAA play and will continue to struggle in the CAA if they make it a habit to lose by double digits at home, like they did on Thursday night against James Madison.