There's going to be a special guest with an article later today on the College Hardwood. A man of unique vision, humor, and tireless research. And I mean tireless research. I will leave it at that and leaving you wanting more.
As far as a quick Valley prediction. I expect an upset. Don't ask me how it's going to happen, but Northern Iowa is not winning Arch Madness. I am going to take Wichita State beating Bradley in the final. It's about time the Valley was a two bid league again. This is the season.
Mike Litos wrote an article on College Chalktalk disparaging the talk about teams needing to win four games in four days is too tiring. Litos further calls that talk "hooey".
Well apparently being one of the espousers of that "hooey", I am here to defend my thought that it is very difficult to win four games in four days. And Litos even supplies evidence for it.
As far as I know, no team that has had to play all four days has won the CAA Tournament. You have had a couple of teams come close recently , like William and Mary and George Mason, who both made it to the final. There are reasons for that history.
The first reason is that there is an imbalance. You have seven teams that potentially may play four days while the four teams with byes will only have to play three. Now Litos talks about how former VCU coach Jeff Capel noted to him that "these kids play four AAU games and drink Mountain Dew all day during the summer". And I am certainly not going to doubt Capel. But simple science can tell you that when two teams of equal talent play each other and one team is playing their fourth day in a row and the other team is playing its third day in a row, the team playing on its third day will have fresher legs etc than the team playing its fourth day in a row.
Litos even states that "it's tough for a Friday team to win the CAA tournament because you are most likely playing three of the top four teams in the conference on three straight days." Litos makes my next argument for me. It's incredibly tough for a team playing its fourth game in four days to beat a team playing its third game in three days because you are statistically playing a better team than you. So we are theoretically not talking about two teams of equal talent, but one team playing another team with better talent AND one more day of rest/fresher legs etc.
And that's the way it should be. The top four teams were given byes because they were the best teams in conference all season. There should be some reward for good regular season play. And yes, I know, with twelve teams in conference, you have to have byes anyhow.
But as Litos notes, as teams without byes advance more in the tournament, they will play better teams that also happen to have one less game of wear and tear. That's why it's so difficult to win four games in four days in the CAA Tournament. Mason in 2007 and William and Mary in 2008 played teams in the championship game that had first round byes (VCU and William and Mary), teams that were better than them and proved so in the championship game.
That being said, I have said that if there is any team that can break this four games in four days drought in the CAA Tournament, it is VCU. They have a quality ten man rotation. And the key game to watch how VCU may do over the next four days is actually the Friday game vs. Delaware. If they can blow out Delaware early and rest their starters for most of the second half, the Rams have a very solid chance of winning the tournament.
But as I noted in my CAA Tournament predictions on Tuesday, if it turns out to be VCU vs. Northeastern as predicted by me in the championship game, Northeastern will have an advantage because they are playing their third game while VCU is playing their fourth game. And CAA tournament history has proven that fact.
Time to run. Can't wait to see some "Jammin on the James". Hope you will be there to join me.