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Colonial Check-In: William & Mary, UNCW headline CAA tournament in Baltimore

The CAA regular season ended in a four-way tie for first place. While Northeastern and James Madison have enjoyed recent postseason success, both William & Mary and UNC Wilmington look to break their streaks of mediocrity.

UNCW Athletics

In one of the most competitive seasons in CAA history, the conference saw their first ever four-way tie for the regular season title.

Preseason conference favorite, Northeastern, was one of the four teams, finishing with the only 20-win record within the conference.

James Madison, who was the 2013 CAA representative in the NCAA Tournament, made a late season push to tie for the top spot.

But while Northeastern and James Madison's success surprises no one, you would be hard pressed to find many outside of those schools who aren't rooting for the other two teams at the top, William & Mary and UNCW.

William & Mary is one of five original D-I teams to have never qualified for the big dance and UNCW was projected to finish second to last in the CAA after six consecutive losing seasons.

It was the first time in head coach Tony Shaver's tenure at William & Mary that the Tribe finished with a share of the regular season title. The school has only won their regular season twice in their nearly 80 year D-I history, the others being in 1998 and 1983.

Meanwhile at UNCW, head coach Kevin Keatts took the Seahawks from worst to first in his very first season in Wilmington. The Seahawks have not won the CAA's regular season since current Clemson coach Brad Brownell led UNCW to first place in two of his four seasons at the university.

Check out our final edition of the CAA power rankings with insight into each team's tournament hopes.

1. William & Mary Tribe (18-11, 12-6 CAA, LW- 1):

Tournament matchup: #1 Tribe vs. Elon/Towson winner, March 7, Noon

The Tribe have one of the most complete teams in the CAA tournament, being able to have plenty of scoring options behind star Marcus Thornton. They came within three points of getting to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and are poised to make it back to the CAA Championship game this season. The Tribe went 2-0 against Towson and 1-1 against Elon during the regular season. You know they want to see Northeastern in the finals, who they blew out at home back in January.

2. Northeastern Huskies (20-11, 12-6, LW- 3):

Tournament matchup: #3 Huskies vs. #6 Delaware, March 7, 8:30 p.m.

The way the seeding ended up, the tournament is set up for a championship game between the Huskies and the Tribe. The Huskies stumbled a bit towards the end of the regular season, losing a crucial road game to Elon that could have helped them win the regular season title outright, but did just enough to hang in the top group. Northeastern went 1-1 against Delaware this season, with each team winning on the road.

3. UNCW Seahawks (17-12, 12-6, LW- 2):

Tournament matchup: #2 Seahawks vs. Drexel/CofC winner, March 7, 6 p.m.

The cinderella darling of the regular season looks to be the surprise of the tournament as well. The last time UNCW made the NCAA Tournament was in 2006 and their do-it-all duo of Addison Spruill and Freddie Jackson look to get them back this season. The Seahawks went 1-1 against Drexel and 2-0 against Charleston in the regular season. UNCW will want revenge against William & Mary if they happen to meet in the finals, losing both regular season meetings with the Tribe by a combined seven points.

4. James Madison Dukes (19-12, 12-6, LW- 4):

Tournament matchup: #4 Dukes vs. #5 Hofstra, March 7, 2:30 p.m.

JMU has won six of their last seven games, propelling them into the four way tie for first place. They are a team that scores by committee, with three players averaging more than 10 points per contest. The Dukes went 2-0 against Hofstra in the regular season, including a nine-point win just last Saturday in Harrisonburg. Plus, JMU fans travel well to Baltimore, so they'll have somewhat of a home court advantage- not to mention their raucous pep band.

5. Hofstra Pride (19-12, 10-8, LW- 5):

Tournament matchup: #5 Pride vs. #4 James Madison, March 7, 2:30 p.m.

The Pride is a squad that saw a dip in performance as the season progressed, starting CAA play hot and then cooling off considerably. Still, they have dangerous scorers in Juan'ya Green and Ameen Tanksley, who are both capable of scoring 20 points in the same game. They'll face a James Madison team they failed to beat, but played close in the regular season.

6. Delaware Blue Hens (10-19, 9-9, LW- 7):

Tournament matchup: #6 Blue Hens vs. #3 Northeastern, March 7, 8:30 p.m.

Delaware looked dead in the water when CAA play began in January, but managed a .500 record in conference play. They were road warriors in February, beating Northeastern, William & Mary, Drexel and Towson. They'll face Northeastern, who they beat by five in Boston.

7. Elon Phoenix (14-17, 6-12, LW- 10):

Tournament matchup: #8 Phoenix vs. #9 Towson, March 6, 6 p.m.

It was just two weeks ago after a loss in Charleston that the Phoenix were last in the conference. That was before Elon rattled off a three-game winning streak that including upsetting both Northeastern and UNCW. With momentum on their side, it would not be surprising to see Elon advance past Towson, who they were 0-2 against this season.

8. Drexel Dragons (11-18, 9-9, LW- 6):

Tournament matchup: #7 Dragons vs. #10 Charleston, March 6, 8:30 p.m.

On Feb. 10, Drexel was riding a six-game winning streak and looked to be poised to finish in the top half of the conference. The Dragons proceeded to lose four straight games and fell to arguably the worst spot in the CAA, seventh place, meaning they have to play in the first round on Friday night. They lost one of the country's top scorers, Damion Lee, to injury, so beating Charleston, who they needed a last second shot by Lee to defeat at home in January, is not a shoe in.

9. Towson Tigers (12-19, 5-13, LW- 8):

Tournament matchup: #9 Tigers vs. #8 Elon, March 6, 6 p.m.

The Tigers haven't won a game since Feb. 15 and ride a four-game losing streak into the conference tournament. Their best CAA win of the season was a 14-point victory at Hofstra in January. Towson did win both matchups with Elon in the regular season, so expect a close game between those two teams.

10. Charleston Cougars (8-23, 3-15, LW- 9):

Tournament matchup: #10 Cougars vs. #7 Drexel, March 6, 8:30 p.m.

Like head coach Earl Grant has been preaching, the conference tournament serves as a fresh start for the Cougars. Charleston lost six CAA games by five points or less, so if the ball bounced a bit different, this team could have a few more wins on their record. One of those close losses was a 53-51 decision at Drexel, their first round opponent.