Thursday, February 25, 2010

Miscelleaneous Notes from Last Night's Basketball Action

Well, when I said in my previous article that the CAA Tournament got more interesting, I wasn't expecting what occurred last night. Two of the "Haves", Drexel and William and Mary both lost at home to "Have Nots".

Drexel continued their second half swoon lost to UNCW in an uncharacteristically high score for 75-69 while Towson stunned the Tribe in Williamsburg 83-77. Johnny Wolf led the Seahawks with 16 points as UNCW had a season low eight turnovers. What made matters even worse for Dragons fans is that UNCW's top two scorers, Chad Tomko and John Fields didn't play due to injuries. It may also explain why the Seahawks had a season low in turnovers. Tomko and Fields combine for nearly six turnovers a game. Drexel has now lost four of its last five games. Chris Fouch led the Dragons with 15 points in his second game back from injury.

Meanwhile at Williamsburg, Towson torched W&M for 50 percent shooting from the field in an 83-77 win. The Tigers scored 49 second half points on 57 percent shooting and shot 18 of 20 from the line. Troy Franklin led Towson with 27 points and was a perfect 10 for 10 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile the Tribe had a brutal night from the line, shooting 7 of 16. David Schneider led the Tribe with 22 points, but it was from the John Starks school of shooting, as he went 7 of 25 from the field, including, get this, 6 of 17 from beyond the arc. Geez.

W&M fell into a fourth place tie with VCU. However, the Tribe currently have the tiebreaker on the Rams due to a better record against third place George Mason. But just to note, half of W&M's losses in conference are now to teams below .500.

As a result of both these games and Hofstra's win over Northeastern, I am no longer talking about "Haves" and "Have Nots". It's open season as far as the CAA Tournament goes. And now the first round of the CAA tournament looks a little more lively.

Can someone please tell Joe Lunardi to end Dayton fans suffering and knock them out of his 64 team selection in Bracketology? But I think the Owls just did that for him. Just when Flyers fanatics didn't think it could get any worse, Dayton scores a season low 41 points and loses at Temple 49-41.

The Flyers have now lost three of their last four games and are now only 7-6 in conference. And I have such empathy for Dayton's fans. Whenever I watch them, I see this incredibly talented team with Chris Wright and Chris Johnson, and I ask myself how can they not be a Top 25 team. Well, a 4-7 record on the road is a good discussion starter. They have replaced Northeastern as my "Team Enigma".

What was once considered a six bid league, is now down to at best four with the implosions of Dayton and Charlotte the past couple of weeks. Now if Rhode Island can just right the ship and keep it at four.

Can we also have Lunardi stop talking about San Diego State? Currently one of Lunardi's last four out teams, the Aztecs got handled by the Cougars 82-68 at BYU last night. The Aztecs are now tied with UNLV for third place in a solid Mountain West conference at 9-5, and 20-8 overall with a solid 38 RPI. Sure, the record and RPI are pretty good.

But upon closer look, San Diego State's non conference SOS is 122 and their best non conference win is over, um...uh...hmm...Arizona at home. Great. They lost to all their best non conference opponents - at Saint Mary's by 22, at Pacific and at Arizona State. And their two best conference wins over New Mexico and UNLV are at home.

Sorry you can't put San Diego State in over Saint Mary's due to head to head and a better non conference SOS for the Gaels. Plus at least St Mary's has a signature road win over Utah State while San Diego State a home win over Arizona. Please, end the discussion now. Repeat after me. The Aztecs are not worthy. The Aztecs are not worthy.

Finally, let's end on a good note. Kudos to the best team on Long Island, Stony Brook. Last night the Seawolves won the America East Regular Season Championship by holding onto beat Vermont 82-78. I was watching this game last night on MSG and Stony Brook looked really impressive for 33 minutes. The Seawolves were actually up 20, 66-46 with seven minutes left.

Then a funny thing happened. Stony Brook went into a stall. And when you go into stall mode as Tieff would tell you, it's hard to get your offense together. And the Catamounts came back and made their next eight shots to cut the lead to five 71-66 with 2:25 left. Vermont actually got it down to three 77-74 with about 50 seconds left. Then Tommy Brenton scored his only points of the night to put the Seawolves back up by five 79-74 with 15 seconds left. Again Vermont cut it to three with 8 seconds left on two free throws but Stony Brook hit one of two free throws at the end to hold on and win 82-78.

Stony Brook now has the #1 seed in the America East Tournament. This means that if the Seawolves win their quarterfinal and semifinal games in the America East Tournament at the University of Hartford, then they get to host the championship game March 13. It was also their 20th win on the season. A great accomplishment for a team that only won 20 games total from seasons 2005-06 through 2007-08.

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