Times continue to change in the CAA, and while there is still good basketball, it’s definitely a new era. Last season saw just two CAA teams reach postseason play. In prior years, the conference had sent more. Plenty of teams have challenging non-conference slates this year, so opportunities for quality wins will be there – but whether or not they come is another story. Another membership change comes this season as Elon joins to bring the conference to ten teams. For now, it seems stable, but conference realignment never seems to really take a break, so enjoy it while it lasts.
That’s not the only thing we should enjoy, however. This season’s race for the top promises to be a good one, as many teams have compelling reasons both to pick them to win and to pick them to finish down in the standings. It’s also a year where a lot of the best players will emerge over time, as the conference loses a great deal of production. Six of the top seven scorers and five of the top six rebounders have moved on, as have the top four in assists last season.
The lack of proven talent means there is a lot to learn about the conference heading into this season. When the all-conference teams are picked in March, chances are there will be some we don’t expect to be there right now or have questions about. In addition, it also means the preseason prognostications are even more meaningless than usual.
So while George Mason, Old Dominion and VCU aren’t walking through that door, the basketball will still be worth watching. The conference will still be very competitive. But the postseason might not be what it used to be for the conference, at least in the foreseeable future.
Predicted order of finish
Player of the Year: Marcus Thornton, William & Mary
Top Newcomer: Juan’ya Green, Hofstra
Top Freshman: Elijah Bryant, Elon
Scott Eatherton, Sr. F, Northeastern
Quincy Ford, Jr. F, Northeastern
Juan’ya Green, Jr. G, Hofstra
Damion Lee, Jr. G, Drexel
Marcus Thornton, Sr. G, William & Mary
Two schools have changed coaches since the end of last season. First came UNCW, as they let Buzz Peterson go and replaced him with Kevin Keatts, most recently an assistant coach at Louisville but also notable for his career as the head coach at prep power Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. Second was the more noteworthy one, as College of Charleston fired Doug Wojcik after an investigation and a suspension into his conduct towards players and staff members while he was the head coach. Earl Grant, most recently an assistant at Clemson, takes over for him.