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Well, it was fun while it lasted, #3Bids4CAA. Frank Hassell scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds as the Old Dominion Monarchs manhandled the Virginia Commonwealth Rams 70-65 to win the 2011 CAA Tournament championship and get the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Monarchs move to 27-6, while the Rams drop to 23-11 and likely are headed to the NIT.
Kudos to Blaine Taylor's squad, who dominated VCU on the glass and held the Rams to 39 percent shooting. VCU threatened to make this a nail biter with some spirited ball halfway through the second half, led by a Jamie Skeen mini-explosion and nine straight stops on defense again the Monarchs (thanks @defiantlydutch for that nugget). The Rams cut an 18-point deficit down to two on several occasions.
But the aformentioned beastmode contender Hasell put a stop to that. The burly senior finished with 22 points on 8-9 shooting, and Kent Bazemore filled the stat sheet with 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Ben Finney, Keyon Carter and Darius James are all solid senior contributors on a team I'm putting in the Sweet 16 on any bracket I fill out. In pen.
The CAA put on a fantastic show this year, and though the regular season now comes to a close, two of their teams (George Mason, Old Dominion) are going dancing, with something to prove and some damage to do.
Oh yeah, Mike Patrick further proved he has no understanding of basic basketball strategy late in this game. And water is wet.
The much Tweeted #3Bids4CAA campaign is looking to be in jeopardy as the first half of the 2011 CAA Tournament Championship wrapped. The big boys (Monarchs, if you will) of Old Dominion are taking it to Rams of VCU, leading 39-26 at halftime.
I pondered retitling this halftime update "Frank Hassell's Elbow 1, Ed Nixon's Face 0," but that frankly wouldn't be fair to the rest of Nixon's teammates, who have been equally steamrolled by Hassell in the first half of the CAA final. Hassell has a cool 14 points and five boards in the first half, leading into this expert analysis from CAA-lover and Gheorghe The Blog founder rob:
ODU is so, so tough and physical. They are beating on VCU – the Rams’ bigs are more the long type and ODU’s are the strong type. ODU rebounding edge is telling. The ODU zone is making VCU start their offense way too far from the basket.
That, folks, is why he gets paid the big bucks and wears the small shoes. Let's put it this way: VCU might want to shoot better than 38 percent in the second half AND prevent their opponent from shooting 64 percent. That's certainly a start. ODU has an 18 to 4 edge on the boards - I almost thought i mistyped that, but yes, VCU has four total rebounds. In the immortal words of Steve Buckhantz, that is a dagger.
The CAA has provide gripping ball for an entire regualar season and conference tournament - let's hope for the sake of all CAA fans (and hoops lovers alike) that VCU makes a run in the second half and we get a CAA Final befitting the season as a whole.
Also, pleasse, let Jimmy Dykes and Mike Patrick lose their voices somewhere during the second half.
The Virginia Commonwealth Rams have already had one shocking upset in the 2011 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, knocking off No. 1 seed George Mason in the semifinals on Sunday. Now, they look for their second straight upset and a surprising berth into the NCAA Tournament, as they will play rival and No. 2 seed Old Dominion in the CAA championship game at the Siegel Center at 7 p.m. Monday night on ESPN.
VCU and Old Dominion have developed a fierce rivalry in recent years, so this is a fitting way for the CAA to be decided. The two teams have won five of the past seven CAA Tournament championships, with Old Dominion coming away with the title last season. The two teams last played in the title game in 2005, with Old Dominion coming away with a 73-66 win.
This game is particularly important because a VCU win would likely ensure the conference gets three bids to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in its history. George Mason is likely to be named as an at-large team, and if Old Dominion loses, they probably have done enough to earn an at-large bid too.
The Rams entered the CAA Tournament on a cold spell, having lost four of their last five games after a midseason nine-game winning streak, but righted the ship with wins over No. 5 seed Drexel, 62-60, in the quarterfinals and over George Mason, 79-63, in the semifinals. Led by seniors Joey Rodriguez, Jamie Skeen and Brandon Rozzell, the Rams will look to ride their home crown to victory.
Old Dominion, on the other hand, is riding an eight-game winning streak entering this game. The Monarchs topped No. 7 seed Delaware, 59-50, in the quarterfinals before holding off CAA Player of the Year Charles Jenkins and No. 3 Hofstra, 77-69, in the semifinals. Defensive demons Frank Hassell and Ken Bazemore lead the way for the Monarchs.
We have our CAA championship match set. The ODU Monarchs defeated the Hofstra Pride 77-69 to advance to the conference tournament finals against VCU.
With this victory, ODU has now won eight games in a row and will have a chance to win their second consecutive CAA championship. What's interesting is that they will be playing a VCU team that upset George Mason, and the result of that game could have big implications for the CAA this year as it relates to the NCAA tournament. ODU has had a relatively strong season as a mid major, and if they lose to VCU, we could have as many as three teams from the CAA in the NCAA tournament.
It all makes for a very intriguing matchup between VCU and ODU, which will take place tomorrow.
The George Mason Patriots' 16 game winning streak has finally come to an end, thanks to a 79-63 loss to VCU in the CAA semi finals.It is the third consecutive year that VCU has defeated Mason in the conference tournament.
For the first ten minutes of the first half, the game was a back and forth affair between the Patriots and the Rams. But after that, the Rams took the lead, one that would last for the rest of the game.
There were only two Patriots in double figures, with Cam Long being the team's leading scorer with 22. Aside from that, the Patriots were unable to get a lot of offense going. They were 5 of 13 from the free throw line, committed 15 turnovers, and were not able to get much going inside.
As for Masons defense, the Rams were allowed to shoot 44% (11-25) from the three point line and 47% (24-50) from the field. Four Rams were in double figures, with Jamie Skeen leading the way with 21 points.
Mason will have 11 days to recover from this loss and try to regroup for its NCAA tournament run.
As for VCU, they will play the winner of the ODU vs. Hofstra match up this afternoon.
The surprising Cinderella run of the William & Mary Tribe has come to an end. The Tribe entered the Tournament as the 11th overall seed and knocked off the James Madison Dukes in the opening round, but the Hofstra Pride were just too much for them.
Hofstra put on an impressive defensive display, limiting the Tribe to under 30 points in each half. William & Mary had only one player score in double-figures. That would be Marcus Kitts, and that wouldn't be nearly enough to defeat the Pride.
Hofstra didn't necessarily shoot well - they hit only 42.6% of their shots, but this game was never really close, as the Pride had four players score in double-figures. Charles Jenkins led all scorers with 20 points, while Brad Kelleher chipped in 13 points, Mike Moore had 11, and David Imes had 10 points and eight rebounds.
With tonight's win, Hofstra will move on to the CAA Semi-finals, where they will meet the Old Dominion Monarchs. These two teams haven't faced each other since Jan. 15, a game that ODU won 75-64.
The CAA Tournament is progressing exactly as we would have expected so far today. George Mason, the favorite to win it all, turned in a dominating second half against Georgia State earlier today. VCU won a close game against Hofstra. And now the Old Dominion Monarchs pulled away late to defeat the Delaware Blue Hens.
Starting forward Frank Hassell led the Monarchs with 24 points and nine rebounds, on 9-13 shooting. Kent Bazemore also turned in 11 points for the Monarchs.
Jawan Carter continued his excellent Tournament by scoring another 24 points. Carter had 17 points in the Blue Hens' two-point victory over Northeastern last night, but this time it wasn't enough. Delaware kept the game close, by their season ended tonight.
With their win tonight, the Monarchs will be watching intently the final game of the CAA quarterfinals later tonight. They will face the winner of the game between Hofstra and Williams & Mary tomorrow night. Hofstra will be heavily favored to advance against William & Mary, who upset James Madison in the opening round yesterday in Richmond.
After overcoming a very tough start, the George Mason Patriots were able to seize control and dominate Georgia State to win 68-45 and advance to the CAA semi finals.
The Patriots started out sluggish, trailing 27-16 around the 7 minute mark of the first half. At that point, the Patriots began to take over. They climbed back into the game in the waning moments of the first half, and went into the locker room regaining the lead 31-29.
In the second half, it was all Mason. After holding on to their lead early in the second half, the Patriots went on a dominating 19-0 run that seemingly ended the game for Mason. It was a spirit crusher for Georgia State and from there, the game was salted away in the final seven minutes of the half.
Mason was able to get good offensive production from up and down the roster, as usual. Cam Long led the Patriots with 15 points, followed by Andre Cornelius and Ryan Pearson with 12 and 11 points respectively.
The Patriots will await the winner of this afternoon's game between VCU and Drexel.
The James Madison Dukes were the favorites to advance tonight, but for most of tonight's game, it appeared that they would have a lot of trouble doing so. In the team's opening round game of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, the Dukes fell to the lower ranked William & Mary Tribe 72-68, in the first major upset of the Tournament.
6'-6" junior Quinn McDowell turned in an outstanding career-high performance for the Tribe, scoring 35 points. He made 10 of his 12 field goals, three of his four three-pointers, and 10 of his 11 free-throw attempts. Pretty impressive.
Denzel Bowles and Devon Moore were the top two players for the Dukes in four different statistical categories this season - points, rebounds, assists, and minutes - but they just couldn't compete with McDowell. Bowles, a 6'-10" freshman from Virginia Beach, was held to just five points, while Moore scored 22.
With their victory tonight, William & Mary will advance to the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament, where they'll play in prime-time at the Richmond Coliseum once again. They will face the Hofstra Pride, the CAA's third ranked team with a record of 14-4.
In the third of four opening round games today at the Richmond Coliseum, the Delaware Blue Hens pulled out a close victory over the Northeastern Huskies. They will face the Old Dominion Monarchs in the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament tomorrow at 6:00 PM.
This game was close from the start to the end. Brian Johnson scored on a layup with 1:11 left in the game to put the Blue Hens on top. As Jawan Carter made only one of four free-throws in the final minute, the Huskies had a chance to win as Chaisson Allen missed a three-point attempt with just 10 seconds remaining. But Allen could not convert the attempt, and his team's season has now come to an end with an 11-20 record.
Carter, who averages 15.7 points per game, led all scorers with 17 points, making six of his 10 field goal tries, and two of his four three-point attempts. Devon Saddler added 10 points and five rebounds for the Blue Hens, and Johnson also scored in double-figures off the bench.
Jonathan Lee scored 16 points for the Huskies, but it wasn't enough. The Blue Hens will move on
The No. 5 seed Drexel Dragons once again let winless No. 12 seed Towson hang around in the first round of the CAA Tournament, but once again, they held on for the victory. The Dragons, who only defeated Towson by six and three points in the teams' two regular-season matchups, once again held on, defeating Towson 75-69 to advance to play Virginia Commonwealth in the CAA Tournament Quarterfinals on Saturday.
Drexel moves to 21-9 on the year, while Towson's season ends with a 4-26 record and zero wins in the CAA.
Sammie Givens scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the Dragons, who opened the second half on a 22-9 run to take a 50-37 lead with 12:06 left in the second half. Towson rallied, though, cutting the lead to 64-62 on a three-pointer by Rashawn Polk. Towson even had a chance to tie the game with 33 seconds left after two missed Drexel free throws, but Josh Brown missed a layup and Drexel was able to survive.
Brown led Towson with 18 points, while Dre Conner added 14 points off the bench.
It will be No. 9 seed Georgia State that will look to stop the George Mason juggernaut in the quarterfinals of the CAA Tournament. The Panthers got 14 points from guard Josh Michaeux off their bench and held off No. 8 seed UNC-Wilmington 58-52 in the first round of the CAA Tournament in Richmond.
The game was close throughout, but Georgia State held a lead for the last 17 minutes of the game. They did not lead by more than six points at any point in the second half, but were able to hold off UNC-Wilmington at the end. Georgia State is one of the worst shooting teams in the nation, but managed to shoot 48 percent from the field in this one.
Georgia State moves to 12-18 on the season, while UNC-Wilmington's year ends with a 13-18 record.
The Panthers played George Mason close in the last regular-season CAA game, losing just 65-58 on February 26. The Patriots routed George Mason, 66-51, in the game in Fairfax back on January 15.
The CAA Tournament will get underway on Friday with four first-round games between the lower seeds in the tournament. The top four seeds and prohibitive favorites -- George Mason, Old Dominion, Hofstra and Virginia Commonwealth -- all have byes to the quarterfinals, which will take place on Saturday. Here are Friday's matchups from Richmond.
All games are broadcasted on CSS, or, if you don't get that, you can pay $15 for a live stream on CAASports.com. Stats via KenPom.com.
The 8-9 matchup will kick things off in Richmond. The two squads split their two games this season, with each winning tight games on their home floor. Point guard Chad Tomko, a second-team all-CAA selection, leads a fairly mediocre UNC-Wilmington team on both sides of the ball (ninth in both offensive and defensive efficiency in the CAA) against the relatively strong defense of Georgia State (fourth in defensive efficiency in the league). The winner will face George Mason on Saturday.
This will likely be as close to a cakewalk as there is in the conference tournament. Drexel is on a roll, and were one of our sleeper teams to watch as we entered the CAA Tourney. Towson, meanwhile, has lost every single league game. Then again, both of the regular-season matchups between these teams were close, with Drexel winning by only six and three points. The winner will face VCU on Saturday.
Northeastern has the starpower of this matchup, with all-CAA first-team guard Chaisson Allen leading the way, but Delaware has won both matchups between the two teams this season. The winner will face Old Dominion on Saturday.
It's been a rough season for William & Mary, last season's CAA Tournament runners-up. They depended on several seniors that departed, and have paid the price with a horrendous season. However, one of their four CAA wins was over this same James Madison squad on the road on February 2. Could history repeat itself again? Forward Denzel Bowles and the Dukes hope the answer is no. The winner will face Hofstra on Saturday.
The CAA Tournament gets under way on Friday and depending on its outcome, it could have a pretty significant impact on the NCAA Tournament field.
George Mason and Old Dominion are likely already into the tournament as at-large teams, according to the most recent Bracketology post at SB Nation. Which means that regardless of what they do in the CAA tournament, they will make the NCAA field. Now there are a few ways the tournament can play out.
That's why this time of year is so fun. Baseless and unending speculation. Check out those two streams for more information.
The CAA conference tournament begins on Friday, as regular-season champion George Mason rides its 15-game winning streak into Richmond. The Patriots' ticket to the NCAA Tournament is pretty much punched no matter what happens, but they will have to hold off a number of serious challengers if they hope to follow off their regular-season title with a tournament one.
The top challenger will likely be defending champion Old Dominion. The Monarchs earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament with a 14-4 record in the league, and are also likely good enough to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team if they do not win. The Monarchs were also the last team to defeat George Mason, winning 69-65 on January 8. George Mason won 62-45 in the rematch in Fairfax on February 5.
The other dangerous team to watch is No. 3 seed Hofstra, who also defeated George Mason this season. The Pride are 14-4 in the league, but do not have the at-large profile George Mason and Old Dominion possess, so they need to win the conference tournament. With likely CAA Player of the Year Charles Jenkins leading the way, they will be a tough out.
Here is how the rest of the teams are seeded.
Drexel vs. Towson, 2:30
Delaware vs. Northeastern, 6
James Madison vs. William & Mary, 8:30
Saturday, March 5
Game 5: George Mason vs. UNCW/Georgia State, noon
Game 6: VCU vs. Drexel/Towson, 2:30
Game 7: Old Dominion vs. Delaware/Northeastern, 6
Game 8: Hofstra vs. James Madison/William & Mary, 8:30
Sunday, March 6
Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, noon
Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 2:30
Monday, March 7
Championship, 7, ESPN
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