A new era will begin for the Colonial Athletic Association with this season, as change has not only been a constant of late but has also changed the conference dramatically. While College of Charleston comes aboard this season, the CAA was also dealt a blow when George Mason announced it would join the Atlantic 10 this season. With that, the conference’s long-time stalwarts – George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU – have all departed in the past year and a half. Elon joins next season to bring the conference back to ten teams.
To boot, all of this comes off a season in which the CAA ranked 22nd in RPI.
Looking past that, however, there is some good news in the conference. There is a lot of talent returning among the holdover teams, so while the long-term outlook might have taken a hit with the aforementioned departures plus a Georgia State program that appears to be on the rise, the near-term doesn’t look so bad. College of Charleston is also a traditionally strong program, and they should be instantly competitive. The top four scorers and the top rebounder in the conference last season all return, and that’s not a bad place to start. There are also teams picked in the middle of the pack that could surprise some people and contend.
There is a feeling of newness around the conference, and it was certainly on display at Media Day in October. The conference tournament has a new home right around the corner from where Media Day was, and there’s a lot of excitement about that given its location in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. While March is not the summer months, when the Inner Harbor is at its best, there is plenty to offer in the area. The local team figures to be pretty good as well, so in all there is optimism around the conference through all the changes.
Predicted order of finish
Player of the Year: Jerrelle Benimon, Towson
Top Newcomer: Four McGlynn, Towson
Top Freshman: Eliel Gonzalez, Hofstra
Jerrelle Benimon, Sr. F, Towson
Damion Lee, Jr. G, Drexel
Frantz Massenat, Sr. G, Drexel
Devon Saddler, Sr. G, Delaware
Marcus Thornton, Jr. G, William & Mary
After a rough season all the way around, Hofstra fired Mo Cassara and replaced him with long-time Niagara head coach Joe Mihalich. Mihalich brought his entire staff with him from Niagara.