Sorry for the delay with this, have been unexpectedly busy over the last couple days. And my mind is mostly mush after trying to come up with a decent way to present these numbers (I settled on listing the seed, the school predicted to finish there this year and then the historical performance of that seed), so the lede here is business-like and free of my usual quick wit! Seriously, another busy day ahead, so stop back late tonight or first thing tomorrow for a bit more on my number-crunching series.
1.) Old Dominion: The preseason favorite has won the regular season crown four times. Only one other seed (10th) has finished in its predicted spot more than once. In addition, the one seed has always earned a first-round bye and has finished lower than third just once. It has never finished second. Bad news for Old Dominion: The last time the Monarchs were picked first, they finished fourth. Good news for Old Dominion: That was 2006, the year the Monarchs made the NIT Final Four. I don’t want to talk about it.
2.) Northeastern: The two seed is the only seed, other than the one seed, to finish first more than once (VCU in 2004 and 2008). It has also finished twice apiece in fourth place and sixth place. The two seed has finished in the top four six times and has always finished in the top six. VCU and George Mason finished sixth in consecutive seasons in 2006 and 2007. The only preseason two seed to actually finish second was George Mason in 2002. Northeastern was picked second last year and finished third.
3.) VCU: The three seed has never finished first and has only finished in the top two twice. It has, though, finished in the top four four straight years and five times overall. The only time it finished out of the top six was in 2004 (UNC Wilmington was seventh in 2004). The three seed has finished fourth in each of the last three years. Before that, the three seed finished in five different spots in the previous five seasons. George Mason’s second-place finish in 2006 (grrr) is the highest finish for a three seed. The only three seed to finish third was Drexel in 2002-03. Old Dominion was picked third last year and finished fourth.
4.) George Mason: The four seed has never finished first, but has finished second four times, most recently Mason last year. VCU (2003, 2005) and Old Dominion (2007) have also finished second. The four seed has finished second or third six times—but never actually fourth—and in the top six seven times. The lowest finish was recorded by Drexel (10th in 2008). That’s the biggest negative gap between predicted finish and actual finish.
5.) James Madison: The fifth seed has finished in the top six just three times, but within the top two twice: UNC Wilmington finished first in 2006 and Drexel finished second in 2004. Its most common finish is 10th (our beloved Dutchmen in 2002, when the league had just 10 teams, and UNC Wilmington in 2007). Tenth is also the lowest finish for the five seed. The only five seed to finish fifth was Delaware in 2003. Speaking of Delaware, the Blue Hens were picked fifth last year and finished ninth.
6.) Hofstra: As noted Monday, six is a good place to be picked—and I’d be saying that even if the Dutchmen weren’t there! The six seed has finished in the top six five times—once apiece at first, second, third, fourth and fifth—and VCU’s crown in 2007 made the Rams the lowest preseason seed to win the regular season title. The worst finish by a six seed is ninth by James Madison in 2002. That ties the six seed with the one seed for the smallest negative gap between predicted finish and actual finish. Georgia State was picked sixth last year and finished eighth.
7.) Drexel: Bad news for Drexel: If you’re not Hofstra, you’re not finishing higher than sixth! The highest the seven seed has finished is fifth, which Hofstra did each of the three times it was picked seventh (2004, 2005 and 2009). The only other seven seed to record a top-six finish was Old Dominion, which finished sixth in 2002. Fifth place is the only place a seven seed has finished more than once. Towson is the only seven seed to finish seventh. The lowest finish for a seven seed was recorded by JMU, which finished 11th in 2008. That was the only time the seven seed didn’t finish within two spots of its predicted finish.
8.) Georgia State: The eight seed has finished in three spots twice apiece: Sixth, ninth and 10th. Old Dominion and Northeastern were sixth in 2003 and 2008, respectively. Like the seven seed, the eight seed has finished in its predicted spot once (William & Mary in 2002) and has always placed within two spots of its predicted finish.
9.) Towson: The nine seed has finished in the top six three times, most among the bottom five teams. The highest finish was recorded by Drexel, which finished fourth in 2002. The nine seed has finished twice apiece in fifth and eighth; William & Mary and James Madison finished fifth the last two years, which qualifies as good news for Towson. James Madison finished last as the nine seed in 2006. The nine seed has never finished ninth. Bad news for Towson: As the nine seed in 2003, it finished last in what was then a 10-team CAA.
10.) William & Mary: Bad news for William & Mary: The 10 seed has never finished in the top six, making it one of two seeds to never reach the top half of the league. Its most common finishes are seventh, 10th and 11th three times apiece. Towson and Delaware placed seventh in 2002 and 2008 while Towson and Georgia State finished exactly as predicted in 2005 and 2006. Towson’s 2005 finish marked the only time a 10 seed has finished last, though the 10 seed has finished next-to-last two of the last three years. Towson was the 10 seed last year and finished 11th.
11.) Delaware: Bad news for Delaware: The 11 seed is the other seed to never finish in the top six. More bad news for Delaware: The 11 seed’s most common finish is 12th, and it’s happened in the last two years with Georgia State and UNC Wilmington. The highest finish for an 11 seed was recorded by Towson (seventh) in 2006.
12.) UNC Wilmington: The 12 seed has been all over the place in the four years since the CAA expanded to 12 teams, with Drexel’s sixth-place finish last year representing the biggest positive gap between predicted finish and actual finish in the last eight seasons. The 12 seed has also finished ninth, 11th and 12th, with Delaware being the lone 12 seed to finish last in 2007.