Thursday, March 1, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: #CAAHoops Regular Season Review

Barbasol: The official shaving cream of Defiantly Dutch (bet they love that).

The #CAAHoops regular season officially came to an end Monday night, when James Madison edged skidding Elon in the makeup of a game postponed by the mumps outbreak within the James Madison program. That means it’s time for the most wonderful/stressful weekend of the year. Except this year, it’s a four-day weekend beginning Saturday and ending Tuesday, Don’t ask me, I just don’t work here.

Anyway, with the tourney fewer than 48 hours from tipping off, I thought it’d be a good time to roll out a first-ever I’ll Be Quirky reviewing the regular season. I’ll also have a post tomorrow looking at the I’ll Be Quirky facts and figures for each team before beginning the specific Hofstra preview material on Saturday. Enjoy!

Preseason favorite College of Charleston overcame a slow start to earn the no. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Charleston and Northeastern finished tied at 14-4 but the Cougars are the top seed by virtue of sweeping the Huskies. The Cougars opened CAA play at 3-3 but won 11 straight before falling to William & Mary in overtime in Saturday’s finale. As the official regular season champion, Charleston will earn an NIT bid if it does not win the CAA Tournament. 

1.) College of Charleston 14-4
2.) Northeastern 14-4
3.) Hofstra 12-6
4.) William & Mary 11-7
5.) Towson 8-10
6.) UNC Wilmington 7-11
7.) Delaware 6-12
8.) Drexel 6-12
9.) James Madison 6-12
10.) Elon 6-12

This marks the third time in the last four years and the 11th time in league history there has been a tie for the regular season championship. (Teams listed in order of official seed)

2015-16: Hofstra & UNC Wilmington, 14-4 (sniff)
2014-15: William & Mary, UNC Wilmington, Northeastern & James Madison, 12-6
2005-06: UNC Wilmington & George Mason, 14-4 (grrr)
1999-2000: George Mason & James Madison, 12-4
1997-98: UNC Wilmington & William & Mary, 13-3
1996-97: Old Dominion & UNC Wilmington, 10-6
1993-94: Old Dominion & James Madison, 10-4
1992-93: James Madison & Old Dominion, 11-3
1991-92: Richmond & James Madison, 12-2
1984-85: Navy & Richmond, 11-3

Three years after the CAA had an unprecedented four-way tie for first place at 12-6, the league had its first four-way tie for last place (or seventh place) at 6-12. Delaware earned the seven seed by virtue of going 4-2 against the other three 6-12 teams. Drexel and James Madison were each 3-3 against the 6-12 teams, but Drexel earned the no. 8 seed by virtue of its win over Charleston. Elon drew the 10th seed by going 2-4 against the 6-12 teams.

The four-way tie for seventh marks the ninth time in league history three or more teams have finished tied in the final regular season standings, though none of the four-way ties occurred prior to 2014-15. (Teams listed in order of official seed)

2015-16: 3.) Towson, James Madison & William & Mary, 11-7
2014-15: 1.) William & Mary, UNC Wilmington, Northeastern & James Madison, 12-6
2007-08: 10.) Drexel, James Madison & Georgia State, 5-13
2001-02: 6.) Old Dominion, Towson & William & Mary, 7-11
1995-96: 6.) William & Mary, James Madison & George Mason, 6-10
1992-93: 4.) American, William & Mary & UNC Wilmington, 6-8
1989-90: 2.) Richmond, American & George Mason, 10-4
1985-86: 6.) American, William & Mary & James Madison, 3-11

Only four teams finished with a .500 record or better in CAA play this season. It’s the 14th time in league history four or fewer teams have finished .500 or better, but the first time it happened when the league had 10 or more teams. 

In addition the six league wins by the four teams tied for last place mark the most wins ever by a last-place team. The last-place team(s) won five games in 2007-08 (Drexel, James Madison and George State, all of whom went 5-13), in 2001-02 (when Hofstra finished last at 5-13) and 1999-2000, when American and East Carolina tied for last in a nine-team CAA at 5-11 

No matter what happens at the CAA Tournament, the 2017-18 season is guaranteed to have more “close shaves” — games decided by six points or fewer or in overtime — than anytime in at least the last six years. Forty-eight of the 90 regular season games (53.3 percent) were decided by six points or fewer or in overtime. That’s the most “close shaves” since 2012-13, when 50 of 105 games in an 11-team league were decided by six points or fewer, and the highest percentage of close games since the CAA returned to a 10-team membership in 2014-15. The previous high percentage was set in 2015-16, when there were 46 close shaves out of 99 games (46.5 percent).

Hofstra had the best winning percentage in close shaves (yay!), though James Madison had the second-most wins while playing the most close shaves.

Hofstra 7-3
Charleston 6-3
Northeastern 6-3
William & Mary 4-4
James Madison 6-7
Drexel 5-6
Delaware 4-5
UNC Wilmington 4-6
Towson 4-7
Elon 2-4

William & Mary, which opened CAA play with five straight wins, was the last unbeaten team in league play before going 6-7 the rest of the way to finish in fourth place. It marked the 11th time in 17 seasons since the CAA expanded to 10 teams in 2001-02 that the last unbeaten team has not finished first in the regular season. Fourth place is actually the median finish for the final CAA unbeaten since 2001-02 (technically, 3.41).

The Tribe will be trying to become the sixth final unbeaten to win the CAA Tournament and earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, though the first five final unbeatens to win the CAA Tournament all entered as the no. 1 seed.

James Madison, which opened CAA play with six straight losses, was the last winless team before going 6-6 the rest of the way to finish in a tie for seventh place  and earn the ninth seed. The six wins are the most for the final winless team in the CAA since Towson opened 0-6 and finished 6-12 in 2009-10. While James Madison is the second straight final winless team to enter the CAA Tournament as the ninth seed (Delaware opened 0-6 and finished 5-13 last season), the Dukes are the 12th final winless team since 2001-02 to finish at least tied for last place, including the seventh in the last eight years.

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