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Colonial Preview

November 25, 2001 Conference Notes No Comments

2001-02 Colonial Athletic Ass’n Preview

by Adam Shandler

So, anyway, I’ve been asked by my editor-on-high to write up a nice little preview for the Colonial Athletic Conference.

Don’t think I didn’t see you roll your eyes!

Hey, don’t sleep on the mid-majors. This conference has at least 2 teams that might make some noise come March. A few of them might even make you go “Aha!” or “Oh!” or even “Wowie!” but I won’t get ahead of myself.

Okay, here’s how I do it. I tell you who I think will win the Colonial because I know you wanna know. I also offer up a Dark Horse (because I love the horsies) as well as a team that I think will lose it all. Dead last. Complete Crapola. (Hey, anyone can pick the contenders, but only a real man can forecast futility.)

Submitted for your approval — or disapproval. I don’t really care — my musings on the Colonial Athletic Association – College Basketball’s Revolving Door Conference.

Three schools say goodbye to the Colonial this year. 2000-2001 regular season champ Richmond ascended to the Atlantic 10, American fled to the Patriot League and East Carolina, like its football team, is now a member of C-USA.

So that means that UNC-Wilmington should run away with the league title, right? Hold it right there, Skippy! The CAA welcomes 4 new teams: Delware, Drexel, Hofstra and Towson — all defectors from the America East conference. The off-season additions just might mean multiple post-season bids for the Colonial.

Projected Champ: UNC-Wilmington
Dark Horse: Virginia Commonwealth
Mmmm…Not so much: William and Mary

1.UNC-Wilmington: Opened up the season with a 1-pt., NIT loss to Wake Forest. Stifled Miami, OH (50-42 in Game 2). You’ll get no kitschy weather jokes from me about Brett Blizzard, just know that he’ll average about 25 points a game.

2. Hofstra: Lost four starters and their head coach. But not much will change for the back-to-back America East Champ. Former assistant and new coach Tom Pecora is a recruiting machine. Among the four rookies he’s brought in, Top 50-recruit Kenny Adeleke could be the CAA newcomer of the year.

3. Virginia Commonwealth: Mack McCarthy might have his best season yet. In the early going, hassled Northwestern in a 5-point loss. Thumped Rutgers, Prarie View in BCA invitational. 6-10 C L.F. Likcholitov (no, that is not one of the names Bart Simpson uses in his phone pranks) is easily the best center in the conference.

4. George Mason: Like you, I’m gonna miss Gulf War veteran George Evans, and so will GMU. But take heart, Northern Virginia, 8 Patriots return including Jr. forwards Jon Larranga and Jesse Young. And you’ll have reason to cheer Freshman point-man Lamar Butler.

5. Delaware: This seems to be a team that recovers well from senior losses. 2nd year coach Dave Henderson will have to fill the production void left by Ajmal Basit and his 15.2 pts and 9.6 rebounds/game. Juinor forward Maurice Sessoms will step up and Ryan Iverson, while no Allen, is a versatile 2-guard with a masseuse’s touch from long-range. The Hens started off with all-around efforts in wins against Wichita St. and Radford.

6. Drexel: “In like Flint”. (Damn you, evil catch phrase! I have succumbed to thee!) Yes, indeed, embattled UMass coach Bruiser Flint must inherit a Dragons team that loses two guys who averaged over 17 points/game (F Mike Kouser and C Joe Linderman). Their early season loss to Marist was yeccch, but new starters Robert Battle (C) and Jamil Moore (SG) were respectable.

7. Old Dominion: Blaine Taylor, former Stanford assistant, comes to Norfolk. That much was a victory for the Monarchs this year. Guard Pierre Green will be a highlight this season and swingman Rasheed Wright should help him out. All four newcomers are freshmen forwards. So…are you saying you’ve got rebounding issues, Blaine?

8. James Madison: A team in need of sensible shoes. Foot injuries turned a promising season into a disaster but the Dukes could be good this year if healthy. JMU lost nary a starter last year and frontcourters Ian Caskill, David Fanning (both 6-10) and Tim Lyle could frustrate foes in the paint.

9. Towson: First-year head coach Michael Hunt has every right to expect G Tamir Goodman to develop at the point. Gerald Weatherspoon is a 2-guard that can create and it’s hard to player-hate (street term) JUCO transfer Clavin Dotson. Sam Sutton leads the frontcourt but he’s all alone up there and counterparts will key on him defensively.

10. William and Mary: Huzzah to Rick Boyages and the Tribe. Their brave out-of-conference schedule features battles against Texas Tech (L 75-55) Purdue and Maryland. I still think they’ll finish last. They’ve got balance, but not a lot of guys who can take over a game. Sr. 2-G Cody Carbaugh is probably the best asset to the team but he needs to score more.

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