Sunday, March 4, 2018

I'll Be Quirky: UNC Wilmington (CAA quarterfinals)

Come for the Hofstra hoops, stay for the random baseball videos.

The pursuit of Hofstra’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 2001 will kick into high gear tonight, when the third-seeded Flying Dutchmen face sixth-seeded UNC Wilmington in the final CAA quarterfinals game at 8:30. That is late. Anyway, here is a look back at the Dutchmen’s conference tournament history and a look ahead to the Seahawks. Hope we do this again tomorrow!

The CAA will provide a video feed of tonight’s game, as well as live stats, at

The Dutchmen enter tonight 13-16 in CAA Tournament play since 2002, 22-21 in conference tournament play in the NAC/America East/CAA era (1994-present) and 25-21 in conference tournament play in the Defiantly Dutch era (1993-present), which, let’s face it, is the only era that matters because it includes the ECC. Hello Litos.

In the CAA, the Dutchmen have lost in the championship game twice, fallen in the semifinals four times, been eliminated in the quarterfinals times and lost on Pillowfight Friday four times. Dating back to 1994, the Dutchmen have won three championships (1994 ECC, 2000 America East, 2001 America East), fallen in the title game twice, lost in the semifinals six times, fallen in the quarterfinals eight times and been eliminated in an outbracket game five times (we didn’t call it Pillowfight Friday back in the NAC).

Last season’s loss to Delaware in an opening round CAA Tournament game marked the first time since 2012-13 the Dutchmen did not win at least one conference tournament game. It also marked the first opening round defeat for Joe Mihalich since 2001, when Niagara fell in the MAAC Tournament. Mihalich-coached teams are 15-4 in their first conference tournament games.  

History suggests the Dutchmen’s chances of winning the CAA were enhanced, albeit only slightly, by earning the third seed on the final day of the regular season. Top three seeds have accounted for 32 of the 35 championships in CAA history. The top seed has won 19 titles, the second seed has won nine titles and the three seed has cut down the net four times. No team seeded lower than third has won the championship since UNC Wilmington in 2000.

The Dutchmen finished in third place in the CAA with a 12-6 record. This is the fourth time the Dutchmen have earned the three seed since joining the CAA in 2001-02 and the first time since 2010-11. Earlier, the Dutchmen earned the three seed in the America East tournament in 1999, when they fell in the semifinals (because Speedy Claxton was hurt, damnit).

The Dutchmen are 3-2 as the three seed in CAA Tournament play with a trip to the championship game in 2006 (grrr) and a trip to the semifinals in 2011 as well as a quarterfinal loss in 2007 (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLAY STATION PASS THE BALL TO AGUDIO HE’S WIDE OPEN FOR THREE).

The three seed is 46-31 all-time in CAA Tournament play and, as noted, has won the championship four times (Northeastern in 2015, James Madison in 2013, George Mason in 2008, Richmond in 1998), lost in the finals 11 times, lost in the semifinals 12 times and lost in the first round eight times.

Since 2002, the three seed is 25-13, including 13-3 in its first game. In addition to winning three titles, the the third seed has lost in the finals six times since 2002, lost in the semifinals four times and been eliminated in the first round three times. The most recent three seed to lose its first game was Towson in 2016. Northeastern (2009) and Hofstra (you know when) also lost their first game.

The Dutchmen will face their most frequent CAA Tournament foe tonight. This will be the sixth CAA Tournament game between the Dutchmen and UNC Wilmington, which holds a 3-2 edge in the postseason series. The Seahawks won the 2016 CAA championship game, the 2006 championship game and a 2003 quarterfinal while the Dutchmen won Pillowfight Friday clashes in 2014 and 2009.

The two-time defending champion Seahawks, under first-year head coach C.B. McGrath, went 10-20 overall this season and finished in sixth place in the CAA at 7-11. The Dutchmen and Seahawks split their meetings this season, with Hofstra cruising to a 96-76 win at the Arena on Feb. 1 and UNC Wilmington returning the favor with a 90-70 victory at Trask Coliseum nine days later. It was the first time in Hofstra’s Division I history that the Dutchmen have delivered and absorbed a 20-point beating to/from the same team in the same season.

The Dutchmen, who were picked fourth in the CAA preseason poll, entered today ranked 154th at The Seahawks, who were picked fifth, entered today ranked 247th at

According to the efficiency rankings at the Dutchmen rank third in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (114.7) and fifth in conference-only defensive efficiency (109.3). The Seahawks rank seventh in the CAA in conference-only offensive efficiency (108.0) and seventh in conference-only defensive efficiency (110.6). predicts an 86-80 win by Hofstra (he also did that for the game in Wilmington, eep). Per the wise guys in Vegas, for entertainment purposes only, the Dutchmen are 5-point favorites. Hofstra is 13-12-1 against the spread this season.

The Seahawks, the third-most senior program in the CAA, are 39-26 in the tournament since joining the league prior to the 1984-85 season. UNC Wilmington has won six league titles, the most of any current CAA school, and is looking to become the first program to “three-peat” since Navy from 1985-87. The Seahawks have won their last six CAA Tournament games, the longest streak since Old Dominion won seven straight from 2010-2012.

Southern bias! (It always works)
You’ve beaten us enough in the CAA Tournament bias! (Duh)
Trot Nixon bias! (The former Red Sox outfielder went to high school in Wilmington)

Let us have three more wins this week and I’ll probably never shout about bias again! (Duh)

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