Here’s your friendly reminder: W&M BASKETBALL STARTS IN LESS THAN A MONTH.
With W&M’s rollercoaster off-season officially coming to an end, and with college basketball about to ramp back up, the CAA recently released its preseason rankings. As most of us know by now, these rankings are typically incredibly inaccurate.
Sure, the top three teams typically finish toward the top, but after that, rankings are usually up for grabs. Movers emerge from the depths, while highly touted preseason teams fall. It’s standard procedure for the parity-laden CAA.
And even though W&M has endured a coaching change, player transfers (both in and out), and much fan scrutiny, this team still has potential this season.
So let’s start with the a quick reminder on how last year ended.
Above is last season’s CAA Tournament bracket. As noted by the seed of each team, Hofstra came in as the presumptive favorite to take home the title, finishing #1 overall in the CAA regular season. However, hot on their heels was a vaunted Northeastern Huskies team, who would end up dancin’ in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately for our Tribe, W&M was upended by a young Delaware team in the CAA tourney (truly an upset); surprisingly, the Blue Hens would go on to play #1-seed Hofstra close, before ultimately falling in that contest.
In short, these were the best teams in the league last season: Hofstra, Northeastern, and Charleston. Want to take a wild guess on which teams are ranked in the top-3 this year?
Correct: Hofstra, Northeastern, and Charleston. Yes, the pundits weren’t very original this season — but with good reason. All of those teams return key players that can surely take each of them to the promised land.
But while the top teams return several valuable players, W&M finds itself on the opposite end of the spectrum; going into the offseason, we predicted W&M’s 2019 starting lineup to look like this:
Nathan Knight, Justin Pierce, Matt Milon, Luke Loewe, Chase Audige
Of those five, only two remain: Nathan Knight & Luke Loewe. As we all know by now, following Tony Shaver‘s release, the three other W&M players transferred to different schools. But with the turnover has come change, and the infusion of new talent packing the halls of Kaplan Arena.
In fact, of the 15 players currently on W&M’s roster, just eight were players on the active roster last season. Think about that. That means that nearly half of the entire team is entirely new to William & Mary’s roster.
With four freshmen and two grad transfers, 1st-year Head Coach Dane Fischer is slowly but surely putting his stamp on this Green and Gold program — infusing both young talented players, as well as key veteran players who can hold down the fort and provide much-needed leadership.
Let us clarify: the fact that W&M comes into the season ranked #7 is absolutely not surprising to us — in fact, it was expected. But as stated at the outset, preseason CAA polls are historically inaccurate (especially in the middle to bottom sections); there’s no reason that W&M can’t turn some heads this season with a couple upsets and a top-6 finish. Heck, W&M wasn’t even expected to finish #4 last season — but it did.
And with, in our opinion, the best player in the CAA in Nathan Knight, this William & Mary team has the opportunity to rattle some cages this season. So keep your heads up Tribe fans, and keep on rooting for your Green and Gold.
And don’t forget — the season is less than a month away!
LET’S GO TRIBE.
First Three Games