The Delaware Blue Hens are the only 6-0 team in Division I.
After beating St. Francis PA on Tuesday, Delaware is off to its second-best start in school history, behind only 1998-99 when it began 8-0. That team won the America East and earned a 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Delaware began the season with a dominating performance against Division III Bridgewater, 97-51. Three days after that, it went down to Kissimmee, Fla. where it was an underdog in all three matchups against fellow mid majors Oakland, Southern Illinois and UTSA. The Blue Hens squeezed past their first two opponents then dominated Conference USA sleeper UTSA.
With two more wins this week, Delaware has now improved on its preseason KenPom ranking of 256 by an astounding 66 spots.
If the Blue Hens beat Stony Brook next Wednesday, head coach Martin Inglesby would have his winningest month as a Division I head coach.
Inglesby brought in a boat load of transfers to build up his squad, including UAB guard Nate Darling. The junior is leading the way for UD, averaging 26.4 points per game after sitting out last season.
Another impact transfer, Justyn Mutts, transferred from High Point and sat alongside Darling last year. The sophomore forward has averaged 18.5 points over the past two games and had a double-double against St. Francis.
Delaware has a somewhat favorable remaining non-conference schedule, facing two MEAC teams, Columbia and LIU. But the downside is they must also host Stony Brook, face Villanova in Jersey and visit George Washington. If they can pull off an upset somewhere, they can position themselves as early conference favorites when CAA play starts.
But if you dominate the non-conference portion of your schedule and lay an egg from late December through March, you will not be a tournament team (unless you’re Arizona State). The CAA is wide open this year and full of talent.
William and Mary began its season 4-0, and nearly upset the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. Potential CAA Player of the Year, Nathan Knight is averaging 20.8 points per game through the first five games and is followed by two other double-digit scorers.
College of Charleston returns 2019 Preseason Player of the Year Grant Riller, who is averaging 21 points per game early on.
Northeastern just went into Worcester and dismantled Holy Cross by 57 points. The Huskies didn’t miss a shot from the field for 15 minutes on Tuesday night.
And the central most team in the CAA, the Towson Tigers, nearly upset Florida on their home court. They are led by another possible player of the year in Brian Fobbs, who has averaged 13.5 points per game early on.
If Delaware wants to continue its early success and make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years, it will need Darling to continue his great play and emerge as another one of the CAA’s best players. Consistency from Kevin Anderson, who has come on strong in the last three games, will also help.
Five teams in the CAA — including Delaware — received first-place votes in the preseason poll. Though the Blue Hens received the fewest, with two, they are beginning to show their upside. And we’re not even out of November.