Can you believe the CAA Tournament starts THIS WEEKEND?! Well, it does, and perhaps no other fanbase in the CAA is more excited than those repping the Green and Gold.
From beginning the offseason with the letting go of longtime head coach Tony Shaver, to suffering through several player transfers, to all the doom and gloom associated with what was supposed to happen to the Tribe this season — it’s been a wild ride, to say the least.
With all that being said, the CAA’s annual All-Conference awards will be announced this Friday, just prior to the 2020 CAA Tournament’s start. And with so much parity in this year’s CAA, it makes it that much harder for decision makers to cast their final votes for all-conference selections.
But before we make our predictions, we want to take a trip down memory lane in looking at the players that were supposed to finish with All-Conference honors this season, as predicted back in October, as they were named to the CAA’s Preseason All-Conference team. Because preseason counts, right?…right?
CAA Preseason All-Conference Teams
Surprising to us was Grant Riller‘s selection as the Preseason Player of the Year (POY); however, given that Riller, the unquestioned best player on Charleston’s squad, was fresh off of a CAA Tournament semifinals appearance playing for a team poised to compete again, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Nathan Knight, the best player on a team that was supposed to finish near the bottom of the standings, wasn’t selected for the honor.
And while many of the above preseason selections have gone on to have stellar seasons, there are some who have not — furthermore, there are players on teams that have seriously underperformed (we’re looking at you, JMU), but have somehow managed good statistical seasons.
Speaking of which, and just for fun, let’s return to look at how the league was predicted to finish, again, back in October.
CAA Preseason Predicted Order of Finish
Yep, that’s right: W&M was supposed to finish as the 4th-worst team in the league. But this ranking wasn’t all bad. Hofstra did finish #1. UNCW did finish #9.
However, the ranking was completely off for several schools, namely William & Mary — and on the other side of the spectrum, JMU. In fact, let’s pull up those regular season standings to see how everything wound up.
CAA Actual Order of Finish
Ah — much better. Surprising to us was Northeastern’s .500 CAA finish. We think they’re a much better team than their conference record currently indicates, which makes this year’s CAA Tournament that much scarier.
We were also surprised by two upstart teams in Delaware and Towson this season. Both programs proceeded to finish with stellar conference records, essentially taking the spots of both JMU and Northeastern in the preseason rankings.
This is all to say that, despite the final rankings, we’re in for a wild ride in this year’s CAA Tournament. W&M dodged a massive bullet in the bracket, because as tough as it would be to play Elon (assuming the Phoenix beats JMU) and then play the winner of Towson/Northeastern, that scenario seems far more preferable than being on the same side of the bracket as both Hofstra and Charleston.
So let’s get to the final piece of this article — our predictions for the CAA’s All-Conference selections.
Predicted CAA All-Conference Selections
Player of the Year & First Team
Nathan Knight, William & Mary
Grant Riller, Charleston
Jordan Roland, Northeastern
Nate Darling, Delaware
Desure Buie, Hofstra
Marcus Sheffield II, Elon
Camren Wynter, Drexel
Coach of the Year
Dane Fischer, William & Mary