Last week was a tale of ups and downs that first saw W&M knocking off the #1 team in the CAA, UNCW. However, it was followed up with a performance on Senior Day that saw the Green and Gold drop a home game to a team that only had 3 overall wins in the Drexel Dragons. But that’s in the past, and none of it matters now. What matters is closing out the regular season 2-0 against a couple strong opponents in Elon and JMU this week.
#MarchOnTribe is in full force as W&M closes in on the CAA Tournament, which begins on March 4 in Baltimore. If you haven’t already, BUY TICKETS! Green and Gold faithful showed up last year in Baltimore, and basically made it home court advantage. Let’s do that again. But now: a look at this week’s CAA Happenings, as it concerns Tribe Faithful (compiled by Bill McDonald)!
CURRENT CAA SITUATION/STANDINGS: With the final week ready to play out in the CAA regular-season race, there is still plenty to be determined. UNCW, which has won 12 of its past 13 games, sits atop the standings at 13-3. Hofstra, which has won four straight contests, is right behind at 12-4 as the Pride travels to UNCW for a huge showdown game on Thursday night. There is a three-way tie for third place at 10-6 between James Madison,Towson and The Tribe. JMU visits Towson on Thursday night before returning home to face W&M on Saturday, and the Tigers head to UNCW on Saturday. All these games will impact seeding for the Tourney. College of Charleston (8-8) and Northeastern (7-9) also meet on Thursday as both still hope to secure an opening-round bye for the CAA Men’s Championship in Baltimore.
INCREDIBLE BALANCE: 9 of the CAA’s 10 teams had at least one win last week and nine also had at least one loss. Hofstra was the only team to go 2-0 and its two victories were by a combined seven points. College of Charleston was the only squad to go 0-2, but its two losses were by a combined seven points, including one in overtime. Of the 10 games last week, seven were decided by five points or less. Over the past six weeks, nearly half (29-of-60) of all CAA games have had margins of six points or less, including eight overtime contests. Definitely a balanced league this season.
LATEST RPI #’s: Four CAA teams are ranked among the Top 100 in the latest RPI report released by Collegiate Basketball News. UNCW now leads all CAA squads at #61, followed by Hofstra at #67, William & Mary fell to #78 and James Madison is in at #97. The CAA is still ranked #9 among the nation’s 32 Division I conferences. If the CAA does not get an at-large bid this season (and it is looking less likely every day), it will be the first time since at least 1998 that the 9th rated Conference did not get multiple bids.
CAA NATIONAL LEADERS: Hofstra’s Rokas Gustys ranks 4th nationally in rebounding (12.4 rpg), 10th in FG percentage (64.8%) and 8th in double-doubles (17) through games of Feb. 21. Hofstra’s Juan’ya Green (7.3 apg) is 4th in assists, UNCW’s Jordon Talley is 25th (3.14) and W&M’s David Cohn is 29th (3.05) in assist/TO ratio and The Tribe’s Terry Tarpey is 25th (2.1 spg) in steals nationally. Delaware’s Marvin King-Davis is 31st in double-doubles (12) and 43rd in rebounding (9.2 rpg).
W&M Disa & Data:
Junior sharpshooter Omar Prewitt averaged 21.0 ppg last week, including a season-high 29 points vs. DU. He has 9 straight games in double digits and has scored 20+ points in 5 of the past 6 contests.
Soph. transfer David Cohn scored a team-high 21 points with 6 assists vs. UNCW and 10 points and 6 assists against DU. He committed just one turnover in 69 minutes last week and was also 17-for-17 at the FT line.
Junior Daniel Dixon hit 5-of-8 treys and scored 19 points against UNCW. He tops W&M with 66 threes on 37.3% shooting this season.
Senior co-captain Terry Tarpey had 16 points vs. UNCW and grabbed 13 rebounds against DU. He’s scored double digits in 11 of his last 14 games, ranks 4th in the CAA in rebounds, 1st in steals and 2nd in blocks.
Senior co-captain Sean Sheldon averaged 11.0 ppg last week, including 13 points vs. DU. He’s shooting 61% from the floor for the season.
Notes on This Week’s Opponents:
@ Elon Phoenix (15-14, 6-10, 8th CAA) — Thursday, February 28 @ 7 PM
The young Phoenix rallied for an 81-76 victory at Drexel, but fell 67-56 at Towson last week.
6’4″ Soph. Guard Dmitri Thompson (9.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg) averaged 12.0 ppg and 7.5 rpg last week, including team-highs of 13 points and 8 boards at Towson. He’s averaging 13.4 ppg over his past 8 contests.
6’4″ Fr. Guard Steven Santa Ana (8.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg) added 10 points in both games last week and is averaging 13.3 ppg over the past 3 contests.
6’4″ Sr. Guard Tanner Samson (12.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg) went 4-of-7 from 3-point range and scored a team-high 19 points at DU. Samson is Elon’s career 3-point leader with 317 and has 75 treys this season.
6’8″ Soph. Forward Brian Dawkins (5.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg) poured in a career-high 14 points in 24 minutes at Drexel.
6’8″ Fr. Forward Tyler Seibring (9.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg) scored 12 points on 5-of-7 FG shooting at DU. He’s 21-of-34 (61.8%) from the floor over the last four games.
6’1″ Jr. Guard Luke Eddy runs the club from the point, scoring 10.7 points per game, while averaging 4.7 assists per game.
Elon shot a blistering 75% from the floor in the second half at Drexel and 58.2% for the game. The Phoenix hit a season-best 58.8% (10-17) from 3-point range.
@ James Madison Dukes (20-9, 10-6 CAA, T-3rd) — Saturday, February 7 @ 2:30 PM on NBC Sports
The Dukes, behind the return of Ron Curry, went 1-1 at home last week, losing 95-94 in 3OT to NU, before beating Delaware, 75-50.
6’3″ Sr. Guard Ron Curry (16.9 ppg, 3.6 apg) scored 21 points with 7 assists vs. NU and had a team-high 17 points and 6 rebounds vs. UD. He’s reached double digits in a league-best 20 straight games and has topped the 20-point mark 10 times.
6’0″ Soph. Guard Joey McLean (5.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg) scored 15 points vs. NU and 14 points against Delaware. He’s averaging 11.8 ppg over his last five games as he is getting more playing time.
6’8″ Jr. Forward Yohanny Dalembert (9.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) posted his 5th double-double with a career-high 26 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 5 blocks vs. NU.
6’6″ Jr. Forward Shakir Brown (11.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg) leads the Dukes with 38.5% marksmanship from three point range.
6’8″ Jr. Forward Paulius Satkus (3.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg) added 10 points and a team-high 9 rebounds off the bench vs. UD.
6’7″ Jr. Guard Jackson Kent (7.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg) had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists vs. NU.
JMU held NU and UD to under 40% FG shooting. The Dukes lead the league in FG% defense and 3-pt FG% defense in CAA games.
It has been a bit of a disappointing past two weeks for the Tribe, going 1-3, and falling back to a tie for 3rd place in the standings. A couple of old nemeses, defense and free throw shooting re-appeared over the past ten days to cause the less than expected results. The Tribe needs to get back on track, while on the road, before heading to Baltimore.
The Phoenix like to run, but also give up more points in CAA games than anyone (72 per game). Tribe shooters need to take advantage of that generosity. In-state rivals, the Dukes, with the return of Ron Curry, will be a handful, as usual, but the Tribe has been able to play well in the Convocation Center in recent season and will have to repeat those efforts again on JMU’s Senior Day.
Final Thoughts: Defense will decide the fate of this edition of Tribe B-Ballers. The offense is, and has been, good enough to compete with just about anyone they’ve played all season. It is also the type of offense that could cause problems for unsuspecting “big time” schools” in post season play. Unfortunately, the defense has been porous enough all season to allow most everyone they’ve played to compete with them.
I said earlier this week, that opposing teams are appearing too comfortable running their offense against us, usually finding good shots too easily. In the first seven CAA contests of the season, the Tribe allowed 68 ppg, in regulation (removing, for comparison sake, the 14 points scored by UNCW in OT). In the past 9 CAA games the Tribe is allowing almost 78 ppg (77.8) in regulation, 10 points more per game. The D’s job from here out will have to include making it more difficult for opposing offenses to operate in that manner in some form or fashion.
Let’s ride into Baltimore with 20 wins already in the books.