College of Charleston is Smooth Jimmy Apollo's lock of the year!
Good afternoon and Happy New Year! The Gregorian calendar says New Year’s Day doesn’t arrive until Tuesday, but Pope Gregory XIII #ThankYouWikipedia clearly wasn’t a college basketball fan. We all know the real New Year’s Day takes place as the CAA opens conference play this weekend. #BeachTime
And with that in mind, I’ve polled the best and brightest #CAAHoops minds (plus me) to try and gauge where we think the league is headed now that the real season has begun. It’s always interesting to do these polls once we have a few weeks of data at our disposal, as opposed to merely trying to make projections following a seven-month off-season.
Just as in the pre-season poll, the top three is pretty defined—in fact, 12 of our 13 pollsters had the same teams in the top three. But there’s a different order to the trio now than there was in October.
Defending champion Charleston, which was picked second in the preseason poll of coaches and media members, was a unanimous selection to win it all in our poll.
The Cougars, who return the soul-harvesting duo of Grant Riller and Jarrell Brantley, enjoyed an impressive non-conference schedule in which they suffered their only losses to a pair of top 100 teams, Oklahoma State and LSU, while earning wins over a trio of teams in the top 110 — Rhode Island, Memphis and VCU.
Good news, Charleston fans: Our pre-regular season pick has won it all each of the last two years! Asterisk: The Cougars were a co-pick last year with Towson.
Northeastern which fell to Charleston in overtime of the CAA finals last year and was the consensus preseason pick to win it all, fell to third after a rollercoaster six weeks.
The Huskies recorded the CAA’s first #SignatureWin of the season by beating Alabama on Nov. 15, but Bill Coen’s squad played without superstar point guard Vasa Pusica and reigning CAA Defensive Player of the Year Shawn Occeus for most of the non-conference slate. Pusica returned before the semester break but Occeus remained absent while dealing with a personal issue. It’ll be interesting to see how Northeastern fares once it is closer to whole.
The poll beneficiary of Northeastern’s rollercoaster non-conference schedule? Our beloved Flying Dutchmen, who rose from third in the preseason poll to second here after a 13-game slate in which they won every game they should have won and came pretty close to pulling off upsets in the games they should have lost. Also, Justin Wright-Foreman remains a beast.
The next tier is a complete crapshoot. William & Mary was picked between fourth and sixth by all but one of our voters and was fourth in our poll, just as the Tribe was in the preseason poll. Delaware was picked as high as third and as low as ninth but was the only team to rise more than one spot from the preseason poll. James Madison was firmly between fifth and eighth and was picked sixth, as the Dukes were in the preseason poll. UNC Wilmington was voted as high as fourth and as low as ninth while Drexel was picked as high as fifth and as low as 10th.
There was more unanimity at the bottom, where neither Towson nor Elon were picked any higher than eighth. UNC Wilmington and Elon were the only two teams to fall two spots between October and now.
Without further ado, here is our poll as well as its participants, whom we thank and whose Twitter accounts we have linked so that you can follow them all season long, as well as the CAA’s preseason poll. As always, clip and save for March, when you can either have a good laugh or express your admiration at our forecasting abilities.
#CAAHOOPS FAN/WRITER POLL, 12/29/18
1.) College of Charleston 13 (13 first-place votes)
2.) Hofstra 26
3.) Northeastern 37
4.) William & Mary 62
5.) Delaware 74
6.) James Madison 78
7.) UNC Wilmington 85
8.) Drexel 95
9.) Towson 118
10.) Elon 124
CAA 2018-19 PRESEASON POLL
2.) College of Charleston
4.) William & Mary
5.) UNC Wilmington
6.) James Madison
FAN/WRITER POLL VOTERS:
Me (unbiased and totally hinged Hofstra observer)
Mike Brodsky (Northeastern superfan)
Robert Canady (Towson writer for WNST)
Dan Crain (Drexel blogger/superfan at Dragons Speak)
Tommy Glasgow (Charleston blogger/superfan at Holy City Hoops)
JMUSportsBlog (James Madison bloggers/superfans)
Mike Litos (VCU superfan and radio analyst, founding father of #CAAHoops)
Gary Moore (Hofstra superfan and hoops blogger at College Hardwood)
Brian Mull (Colonial X founder, former UNCW beat writer for The StarNews and #CAAHoops Godfather)
Alex Riley (UNCW beat writer for The StarNews)
Rob Russell (W&M superfan and contributor to Gheorghe The Blog)
Vinny Simone (Hofstra writer for Daly Dose Of Hoops)
Kevin Sweeney (Founder of mid-major site CBB Central)