We’re already two weeks into CAA play, and boy has it been a wild ride. There have been exceptional performances, poll-busting results, and surprising defeats. As is seemingly the case every season — each CAA game has been a dog fight, and it won’t get any easier for the Tribe from here on out.
W&M currently sits tied for 2nd in the CAA at 7-9 (3-1 CAA), trailing only conference leader, Hofstra. W&M went 1-1 this past week, falling in a heartbreaker at Delaware before rebounding on the road against Drexel.
Below, we highlight our new (soon-to-be-weekly?) CAA Power Rankings. Now, before you get mad at us, keep in mind that these rankings are not based on actual standings — they’re instead based on which CAA teams we think are the best in the league at this point in the season. So without further ado, enjoy.
CAA Power Rankings: January 7, 2019
Hofstra (13-3, 3-0 CAA)
Charleston (13-3, 2-1 CAA)
The CAA’s defending champion Charleston Cougars experienced a bit of a hiccup last week, when they fell on the road to JMU, 69-58. This loss snapped CofC’s 10 game winning streak; but last week wasn’t all bad, as the Cougars finished 1-1, handily defeating Towson on the road. This team still boasts 2 of the top 3 scorers in the league in Grant Riller (22.3 PPG) and Jarrell Brantley (19.9 PPG) — and we expect them to rebound, picking up two wins this week over Drexel and Delaware.
Northeastern (7-8, 1-2 CAA)
The CAA’s preseason #1 team, Northeastern, has struggled out of the gates — having already picked up two quick losses to Hofstra and Delaware. While some might panic, Huskies fans should rest assured. They dropped a game to Hofstra on the road, but that came on the back of a ridiculous game-winning shot from Hofstra’s uber-talented Justin Wright-Foreman. Northeastern also lost to Delaware, but again, it took 2 OTs for the Blue Hens to get the job done. One could argue that if a couple bounces went the Huskies’ way, they would be sitting pretty at 3-0 in CAA play. Northeastern will be “in” every game this year, and we expect them to go on a win streak soon (just not this week please, as the Huskies play W&M on Saturday).
William & Mary (7-9, 3-1 CAA)
*Insert “homer” references here* — We don’t really know what to make of this Tribe team yet. The Green and Gold currently sits at 3-1 in CAA play after dropping a heartbreaker to Delaware, a game in which W&M was leading (quite handily) nearly the entire game. What’s encouraging to us is that the Tribe rebounded with a thrashing of Drexel on Saturday, sans junior scorer Justin Pierce, who was out with an illness. But this week will be revealing, as W&M faces Hofstra in Williamsburg, and Northeastern thereafter. We’re hoping for at least a split for W&M in these games, but if W&M can pull out two victories, the Tribe would undoubtedly shoot up in our power rankings (and CAA standings in general).
UNCW (6-10, 2-1 CAA)
We’ve already learned that you can never count UNCW out of a game. After dropping a very close opener at Trask Coliseum to defending-champs Charleston, UNCW has rebounded with two straight wins, coming over JMU and Towson. Devontae Cacok is playing like a man possessed, averaging nearly 16 points and 16 rebounds per game in CAA play. When Cacok is on, this team can beat anybody — and that’s almost not an exaggeration. We expect UNCW to vie for plenty of “upsets” this year, especially when they are at home in front of a raucous crowd.
Delaware (11-6, 3-1 CAA)
Delaware has been the surprise of the CAA so far this season, and about that, there is no doubt. After getting embarrassed by Hofstra in a 45-point loss to open CAA play (yes, you read that correctly), Delaware has won 3 in a row, including two wins against preseason top 4 teams in Northeastern (#1) and William & Mary (#4). The Blue Hens are a good young team, with 4 players ranked in the top 22 in scoring in the CAA — including sophomore Ryan Allen (13.7 PPG) and senior Eric Carter (17.8 PPG, 10.3 rebounds). But although the Blue Hens boast two quality wins — we think there’s something more to their story. W&M began the game up by as much as 20-6 against them, before blowing it in the second half. Hofstra literally beat the Blue Hens by 45 points. Northeastern only fell by two points to the Blue Hens (as did W&M). So while UD fans won’t be happy with this week’s power ranking, and they have a right to be based off of the stats, we’re just not buying the Blue Hens this year (at least not yet). Check back in with us in a few weeks.
JMU (8-9, 1-3 CAA)
JMU is currently the “best of the rest” in the CAA. In fact, we think that their 1-3 record does not indicate just how good this team is/can be. The Dukes have been competitive in all four CAA games so far, losing by an average margin of just 3.7 points per game. They played W&M close, only lost by 3 to Elon on the road, and again only lost by 3 to UNCW in 2OT. The Dukes followed up that 0-3 conference start with a big victory over Charleston, snapping the Cougars’ 10 game win streak. This game single-handedly proved that the purple and gold are capable of beating any team in the CAA on any given night. Look out for the Dukes! Their power ranking may rise in the coming weeks; with their head coach Louis Rowe potentially on the hot seat, many sure hope they do.
Drexel (7-10, 1-3 CAA)
This offseason, the Dragons lost rising senior Tremaine Isabel (their leading scorer from last season) to transfer — which hurt. With that being said, we don’t really know how well (or poorly?) Drexel will finish this year. Drexel has undoubtedly experienced the hardest start to the season of any CAA team. Through 4 games, Drexel has had to play at Hofstra, at Northeastern, and at home against Elon and W&M. Moving forward, the road doesn’t get any easier, as this week, the Dragons will take on Charleston and UNCW in consecutive games. Brutal.
Towson (5-11, 1-3 CAA)
This Towson team is similar to ones in years past. They are a physical team that crashes the boards hard — choosing to seemingly live and die through rebounds. A transfer from junior college, Brian Fobbs is currently providing the team an offensive spark — but we don’t see the Tigers making much noise this year. But hey, they have a nice stadium!
Elon (5-12, 1-3 CAA)
Elon still has Steven Santa Anna (16.4 PPG) and Tyler Seibring (15.5), but they don’t have much behind these two. The Phoenix beat JMU at home to start conference play, but have subsequently fallen to Towson, Delaware, and Drexel. They have yet to play a top-5 CAA team, and still stand at 1-3. The prospects are not promising for the Phoenix this year, and we don’t expect their prospects to improve any time soon.