Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I’ll Be Quirky: CAA Tournament

Willie Aames: The patron saint of Defiantly Dutch for however long Hofstra's CAA Tournament run lasts.

Good afternoon and welcome to the first-ever #Redundant I’ll Be Quirky: CAA Tournament! Some of you may recognize this as Just The Facts, but since I went the whole season with the I’ll Be Quirky moniker, I have decided to to #Rebrand myself. You may also recall that there were multiple “Just The Facts” in previous seasons, but this will info-packed blog will likely be the only I’ll Be Quirky prior to the preview for Friday night’s game against Delaware. In other words, I’m keeping with the trend in journalism of repackaging stuff and giving you less than you’re used to getting. At least I haven’t hiked your subscription prices.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s a bunch of quirky facts relevant to Hofstra’s draw in the CAA Tournament, which for the Dutchmen will last anywhere from one to four days. So hopefully you need more information as the weekend continues. 

The Flying Dutchmen are the eighth seed in the CAA Tournament for the third time since joining the league in the 2001-02 season. The Dutchmen went 1-1 as the eighth seed in 2014, when they beat UNC Wilmington 78-70 in the lone outbracket game before falling to eventual champion Delaware 87-75. In 2008, the Dutchmen dropped an 81-66 “Pillowfight Friday” decision to Towson.

The eighth seed is just 4-14 in its opening round game since the 2001-02 season.

2015: Elon 74, Towson 69 (OT)
2014: Hofstra 78, UNCW 70
2010: Towson 91, UNCW 74
2009: Georgia State 54, Delaware 41

In addition, an eighth seed has advanced to the CAA semifinals just once in the league’s 34-year history. Navy upset top-ranked James Madison in the 1991 quarterfinals, back when the CAA had just eight teams and three tournament rounds.

The four teams playing Friday — the Dutchmen plus seventh-seeded James Madison, ninth-seeded Delaware and 10th-seeded Drexel — are facing long odds as they try to enjoy a lengthy stay in North Charleston. A team relegated to “Pillowfight Friday” has not advanced beyond Saturday’s quarterfinals since 2010 and has gotten to the semifinals only seven times since the 2001-02 season. Only two teams that played on Friday have reached the final. George Mason (2007, grrr) and William & Mary (2008) each lost in the championship game.

In addition, only two “Pillowfight Friday’ participants in a 10-team CAA tournament have won two games: Hofstra in 2002 and UNC Wilmington in 2004. 

2010: No. 5 VCU beats no. 12 Delaware & no. 4 George Mason, loses to no. 1 Old Dominion in semis
2009: No. 11 Towson beats no. 6 Drexel & no. 3 Northeastern, loses to no. 2 George Mason in semis
2008: No. 5 William & Mary beats no. 12 Georgia State, no. 4 Old Dominion & no, 1 VCU, loses to no. 3 George Mason in finals
2007: No. 6 George Mason beats no. 11 James Madison, no. 3 Hofstra (grrr) & no. 2 Old Dominion, loses to no. 1 VCU
2006: No. 5 Northeastern beats no. 12 James Madison & no. 4 Old Dominion, loses to no. 1 UNCW
2004: No. 7 UNC Wilmington beats no. 10 James Madison & no. 2 Drexel, loses to no. 3 George Mason
2002: No. 10 Hofstra beats no. 7 Towson & no. 2 George Mason, loses to no. 3 VCU

The Dutchmen swept Delaware in the regular season series. While the idea that it’s hard to beat a team three times in one season is a popular cliche, a CAA team that swept the regular season series is 44-17 in a tournament re-rematch since 2001-02. However, the sweeping team is just 5-5 in a third meeting over the last two years. 

Since joining the CAA, the Dutchmen are 5-0 in a third tournament game against a team they swept in the regular season.

2016: Hofstra beats Drexel
2016: Hofstra beats W&M
2014: Hofstra beats UNCW
2011: Hofstra beats W&M
2009: Hofstra beats UNCW

Joe Mihalich-coached teams are 15-3 in their first conference tournament games, including 3-0 since Mihalich took over at Hofstra prior to the 2013-14 season. Mihalich last lost his first conference tournament game in 2011, when Niagara fell to Marist, 73-61.

Over the last five seasons, 13 teams seeded fifth or lower have won a conference tournament.

UConn (6th seed, American Athletic Conference)
Austin Peay (8th seed, Ohio Valley Conference)

VCU (5th seed, Atlantic-10)
Hampton (6th, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

Cal Poly (7th, Big West)
Milwaukee (5th, Horizon League)

Albany (5th, America East)
Liberty (5th North Division, tied for 9th-best record among 12 teams, Big South)
North Carolina A&T (7th, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) 
Western Kentucky (6th, Sun Belt)

Louisville (7th, Big East)
Colorado (6th, Pac-12)
Western Kentucky (7th, Sun Belt)

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