In the last Colonial Check-In, we wrote about how league parity could make for another tight and exciting year in the CAA, and so far, the conference hasn't disappointed.
James Madison, UNCW, William & Mary, Towson, Hofstra and Northeastern all hold 4-2 records in CAA play thus far. Save but one of those teams (Towson), they were all supposed to be battling for the top spots in the conference.
The level of play has been no laughing matter, as well. We saw two overtime tilts against top teams on Saturday, giving January games the feel of March. James Madison outlasted Hofstra, while UNCW squeaked by William & Mary.
Some disappointing news for all CAA fans came from Charleston this week, as the conference's leading scorer, Canyon Barry, is out for the season after needing shoulder surgery. The Cougars swingman had been playing at a very high level and gave Charleston some real hope for a nice season.
With that being said, here's this edition of the CAA power rankings:
1. James Madison Dukes (14-5, 4-2 CAA, Last: 1)
The Dukes got a big overtime win over Hofstra on Saturday, giving James Madison an early advantage in the tiebreakers that will be all so important down the stretch. They've won three straight since losing two of their first three CAA matchups. Ron Curry continues his All-CAA play for James Madison, averaging 16 points and being their big shot man. They have Drexel at home and Elon on the road in their next two, looking to get revenge for Elon beating them in Harrisonburg two weeks ago.
2. UNCW Seahawks (12-5, 4-2 CAA, Last: 5)
UNCW rattled off 97 points in a tremendous overtime victory vs. William & Mary on Saturday night, giving the Seahawks a boost in the rankings. They are also a team on a three-game winning streak, taking care of business on the road with wins over Delaware and Elon. UNCW has two winnable games against Delaware and Drexel before a showdown with James Madison on Jan. 28 in Harrisonburg.
3. Hofstra Pride (12-5, 4-2, Last: 4)
Hofstra just lost that overtime game to James Madison, which could be a preview of the CAA championship if things go the way they were predicted. The only blemish on the Pride's schedule is a road loss to Charleston, but that was in the midst of a three-game road trip The dynamic duo of Juan'ya Green (17.2 points) and Ameen Tanksley (15.8 points) continues to be the scariest tandem in all the conference. Hofstra has a big road test at Northeastern upcoming.
4. Towson Tigers (13-6, 4-2 CAA, Last: 8)
Give the Towson Tigers all the credit for their fast start, especially since we doubted their chance at competing in the CAA this season. The Tigers have two losses, understandably to Hofstra and James Madison, but beat William & Mary on the road and UNCW at home. Towson has gotten a nice boost from William Adala Moto, who is averaging 15 points a game after transferring in from Wake Forest.
5. William & Mary Tribe (12-5, 4-2 CAA, Last: 3)
The Tribe could be looking at an undefeated conference record had it not been for a bad seven-point home loss to Towson and the ball bouncing differently in a three-point OT loss to UNCW. Omar Prewitt has been the catalyst for William & Mary, scoring over 17 points per game. We are giving Towson the nod over the Tribe for now, but a win on the road against Hofstra this Saturday would be very big.
6. Northeastern Huskies (12-7, 4-2 CAA, Last: 6)
Northeastern can make a good case to be higher on this list, but since they lost to William & Mary, they have to be the sixth and final 4-2 team this time around. The Huskies' other loss was to James Madison, while they beat UNCW in Wilmington earlier this month. With their well-rounded cast led by David Walker and Quincy Ford, the Huskies will be right there come March. Home games against Hofstra and Towson loom on the Northeastern schedule.
7. Elon Phoenix (12-7, 3-3 CAA, Last: 7)
Elon caught James Madison napping for a good road victory, but the Phoenix then lost two home games to Hofstra and UNCW. It would have been a big win for Elon to have beaten one of those two teams on their home floor. They edged Charleston in South Carolina this past weekend to stay even in the seventh spot.
8. Charleston Cougars (10-7, 2-3 CAA, Last: 2)
Canyon Barry had this team playing really nice basketball, and that's why our heart breaks for both Barry and Cougars fans to see him sidelined for the remainder of the season. They had just picked up a road win against James Madison and narrowly lost to William & Mary when Barry got hurt, and Charleston has gone 1-3 in his absence. All three losses are by seven points or less, begging the question: where would Charleston be with Barry's 19 points per game on the floor?
9. Drexel Dragons (3-14, 1-5 CAA, Last: 10)
Drexel picked up a home win over the Barry-less Cougars to get out of the CAA basement last week. This team just doesn't have enough scoring to keep up in CAA play, evident by four of their five losses being by eight points or more. The Dragons enter a brutal stretch of their schedule with James Madison, UNCW and Towson in the next ten days.
10. Delaware Blue Hens (5-12, 0-6 CAA, Last: 9)
Delaware has lost nine games in a row dating back to Dec. 19. It has been a strange season for a team that was picked fifth in the CAA preseason poll. They lost by 32 points to Northeastern, then dropped a two-point heartbreaker to Towson. A southern road trip is on tap, going to Wilmington and Charleston, before coming back to face William & Mary. A win over Charleston would be the best bet to stop the bleeding.