So, CAA gauntlet week ended with Drexel's come from behind win at home over VCU on Sunday night. There's only one undefeated team left in CAA conference play, George Mason. Then there's a whole bunch of surprises at 3-1 and also surprises at 2-2. Finally there is the back of the pack and one of those teams has as many losses in conference as they did all of last season.
So with the all the voodoo going on in the Colonial, it's only fitting that our Colossal Colonial Ratings, aka CCR, this week should be accompanied by the CCR song "I Put A Spell on You". Remember the ratings are based on my rankings of how good the teams are, not necessarily their current standings in the league. Over time though, the CCR will generally reflect their standings in the league.
- George Mason (12-4, 4-0 CAA) - The Patriots pulled off one of the two sweeps by a team during a gauntlet week. First, they struggled with but eventually overwhelmed William and Mary. Then the Patriots won impressively at Old Dominion. Finally, in a dogfight in Fairfax, Mason held onto beat Georgia State.
Mike Morrison was huge for Mason during gauntlet week. In the three games, he averaged nearly thirteen points and ten rebounds per game. He had a double double, fourteen points and fifteen rebounds vs. the Panthers stout front line. Impressive.
- Georgia State (11-4, 3-1 CAA) - The Panthers were only a few seconds away from pulling off an almost impossible task of sweeping Drexel, VCU and George Mason, the last two games on the road. Still, a 2-1 showing was quite impressive for Georgia State.
Jihad Ali was an important factor in the Panthers' success. In the last three games, Ali has averaged fifteen points per game and was a perfect twelve for twelve from the line. Ali has increased his free throw percentage from forty six percent last season to seventy three percent this season, which is an amazing improvement.
- Old Dominion (8-8, 3-1 CAA) - Rumors of the Monarchs demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Monarchs had a solid 2-1 week It wasn't pretty, but it was effective. They rallied to force overtime at James Madison, then beat the Dukes in overtime. After struggling at home in a loss to Mason, the Monarchs completely crushed Towson, winning by thirty seven points.
Chris Cooper has become the latest member in a long line of solid ODU forwards. Cooper is averaging a double double this season with 10.4 points and 10.3 rebounds. Last season, Cooper only had 154 field goal attempts on the season. This season, he already has 148 field goal attempts.
- Drexel (10-5, 2-2 CAA) - Things looked a little bleak at the start of the week for the Dragons. They lost convincingly at Georgia State. But then came the lock down of Towson at home,.60-27. Then in a typical classic VCU-Drexel rockfight, the Dragons rallied to beat the Rams in what was a must win for Drexel.
Frantz Massenat.has improved his games by leaps and bounds. The sophomore has more than doubled his scoring from last season to 12.7 points per game. His three point field goal percentage is a very impressive 47 percent and he has increased his free throw shooting percentage from 61 percent last season to 73.5 percent this season.
- VCU (11-5,.2-2 CAA) - The week started off promising for the Rams. They soundly defeated Hofstra. But they ran into two defensive struggles and came out on the losing end both times; at home to Georgia State and at Drexel. The second best free throw shooting team in the CAA shot an uncharacteristic 9 of 20 from the free throw line against the Dragons.
Troy Daniels has become a major weapon off the bench for VCU. In his last three games, Daniels has hit twelve three pointers while averaging thirteen points per game. After only averaging four plus minutes per game last season, Daniels is averaging twenty one minutes per game this season, while shooting forty percent from three.
- UNCW (7-7, 3-1 CAA) - The Seahawks were the only other team besides the Patriots to successfully run the gauntlet last week. They won at home over Delaware, then traveled to Boston and beat Northeastern. Finally they held on at Trask to defeat Hofstra. And they did it with offense, averaging seventy nine points per game.
Freshman Adam Smith has created a lot of buzz with his outstanding play so far this season. But my favorite Seahawk has been for a while Keith Rendleman. Rendleman was a horse last week for UNCW. He averaged twenty points and twelve rebounds in those three wins while shooting 19 of 31 from the field and 22 of 26 from the line. Definitely all first team CAA material.
- Delaware (7-7, 3-1 CAA) - Imagine you're 3-1 in conference and that only gets you seventh place in these ratings. That's not a knock on the Blue Hens, just speaks of the depth of this conference. They got off to a bad start losing a tough game at UNCW. Then they barely just held on beating Hofstra at home 67-66. Delaware then toughed one out beating William and Mary on the road. All in all a good week for the Blue Hens.
We love double double machines here at the College Hardwood. Thus we have to give a lot of love to Jamelle Hagins. Hagins averaged eighteen points and twelve rebounds in the three games last week. He also shot an impressive 21 of 35 and is shooting 56.6 percent from the field this season. And oh yeah, he averaged three blocks per game last week.
- Northeastern (6-8, 2-2 CAA) - The Huskies had a good week overall, going 2-1. They won at Towson, then lost a close game at home to UNCW, then had another road win at James Madison. The Huskies seem to like the road, as five of their six wins have come away from home. Perhaps they should check into a hotel when playing in Boston.
Mike Litos loves Quincy Ford, another talented freshman in the CAA this season. And why not, because Ford stepped up his game during gauntlet week. He averaged nearly fourteen points per game while shooting 16 of 31 from the field. Ford also had ten steals in those three games.
- James Madison (8-7, 1-3 CAA) - The Dukes were one of three teams that got swept last week. It was how they got swept that was so agonizing. JMU had ODU beaten but missed several key free throws down the stretch. The Monarchs forced overtime and eventually won. Then they rallied in the second half vs. William and Mary, only to fade down the stretch and lose to the Tribe. Finally, a depleted Dukes roster lost at home to Northeastern.
A.J. Davis has been a solid addition to JMU. In his last three games, including a win over Hampton last night, Davis has averaged eighteen points, six rebounds and four steals. Davis though might want to work on his three point shooting. In his last five games, he is 1 of 19 from beyond the arc. No, that's not a misprint.
- Hofstra (6-10, 0-4 CAA) - Talk about a complete reversal from a season ago. Last season, Hofstra swept through gauntlet week, which helped catapult them to a third place finish in the CAA. Last week, Hofstra got swept. First, VCU outclassed them at the Mack Center. Then the Pride lost a heartbreaker at Delaware by a point, when they missed three free throws in the last twenty two seconds in the game. Then Hofstra lost at UNCW by six. The Pride have now lost as many games in conference this season, four, as they had all last season.
If there is any silver lining to an 0-3 week, it has been the play of Stephen Nwaukoni. Nwaukoni has earned a starting role due to his tireless work on the boards. He averaged nearly ten rebounds per game during gauntlet week.
- William and Mary (3-13, 1-3 CAA) - The Tribe did their best this past week. They gave Mason fits at the Patriot Center, leading for most of the first half before losing. Then they knocked off JMU at home. Finally, they held their own for most of the game at Delaware before losing to the Blue Hens.
W&M has their own talented freshman in Marcus Thornton. In the three games last week, Thornton averaged nineteen points and shot 16 of 20 from the free throw line. Over his last four games, he is eight of seventeen from beyond the arc.
- Towson (0-16, 0-3 CAA) - The Tigers gauntlet week received a lot of negative publicity due to their record tying and record breaking losses. First, Towson played respectably at home, losing to Northeastern by nine points. Then it got ugly. First was the 70-27 loss at Drexel, where only one Tiger had more than one field goal in the game and had eight baskets for the entire game. Then Towson set the NCAA Division I mark for most consecutive losses with thirty five in a row as they got pummeled at ODU 75-38.
It's hard to find a bright spot on a winless team that has scored sixty or more points only twice this season. But Robert Nwankwo was a stat sheet stuffer against Old Dominion. Nwankwo had eleven points, seven rebounds, five blocks and two steals vs. the Monarchs. Nwankwo on the season averages eleven points and eight rebounds per game.