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.