While College of Charleston met preseason expectations by nabbing the No. 1 seed for this year’s CAA Tournament, they’ll be hosting a competitive and unpredictable field when the event rolls around. The Cougars have three of the league’s best players in Grant Riller, Joe Chealey and Jarrell Brantley, but starting center Nick Harris was lost to injury in the team’s penultimate game. Charleston will have home turf on their side, but with a blow to their already thin roster, other contenders could pull the upset.
Right on CofC’s tail is Northeastern. The Huskies are winners of six straight, including a dismantling of Elon in the season finale that gave them a share of the regular season championship title. Point guard Vasa Pusica is a Player of the Year candidate and has the CAA’s deepest roster at his command.
The next two seeds, Hofstra and William & Mary, have some of the CAA’s best offensive weapons. Justin Wright-Foreman (24.2 PPG) is one of the purest scorers in the country, and can shoot Hofstra into any any game. Meanwhile, W&M leads the conference in scoring, three-point percentage and free throw percentage.
The rest of the bracket shakes out with a good mix of dangerous teams. The final two with a first round bye are Towson and UNC Wilmington. The Tigers were picked to finish second in the preseason polling, but have inconsistency to blame for their slide over the past month. UNCW is the two-time defending champ with the nation’s leading rebounder, Devontae Cacok, patrolling the paint.
Even the bottom of the bracket has teams that can’t be taken lightly. For the first time in a decade, every team in the CAA won at least five conference games. Delaware, Drexel, James Madison and Elon have all brought league contenders down to the wire and could make noise in the quarterfinals.
How to Watch:
(all times EST)
Saturday, March 3 (CAA.tv)
4:00 p.m. - Game 1: No. 8 Drexel vs. No. 9 James Madison
6:30 p.m. - Game 2: No. 7 Delaware vs. No. 10 Elon
Sunday, March 4 (CAA.tv)
12:00 p.m. - Game 3: No. 1 College of Charleston vs. No. 8 Drexel/No. 9 JMU
2:30 p.m. - Game 4: No. 4 William & Mary vs. No. 5 Towson
6:00 p.m. - Game 5: No. 2 Northeastern vs. No. 7 Delaware/No. 10 Elon
8:30 p.m. - Game 6: No. 3 Hofstra vs. No. 6 UNCW
Monday, March 5 (CBS Sports Network)
6:00 p.m. - Game 7: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
8:30 p.m. - Game 8: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
Tuesday, March 7 (CBS Sports Network)
7:00 p.m. - Championship Game
Should CofC and Northeastern meet in the CAA Championship, the league will have a worthy representative in the Big Dance. Northeastern’s depth gives it an advantage in the back-to-back-to-back format, but it’s hard to bet against Charleston this year. The Cougars seem destined to make it back to the finals after last year’s runner-up finish, and have found their groove over the past month. CofC was 8-2 against the other teams with byes, and one of those losses came in OT at W&M after the Cougs clinched the top seed. But if Harris remains out, the Northeastern/Hofstra winner has a strong chance of cutting down the nets.