While I didn’t bet teams in the CAA much this season, it’s definitely another fun smaller conference with a history of getting buck-wild in March. Before jumping ship to the A10, VCU had a very memorable run to the Final Four in a 2011 season where they didn’t even win this tournament, instead getting an at-large bid after falling to Old Dominion in the final. Coincidentily, that was also the last time the CAA tourney didn’t have the #1 seed (George Mason) make the final. Which is funny since George Mason, of course, has the league’s other memorable March run five years earlier as they too surprised their way into the Final Four. Again, they made the Final Four without managing to win the league tourney that year. Which begs the question, who will be the next CAA team to use a Cinderella run to help them get into the Atlantic 10?
When and Where: March 9th-12th. Held at the North Charleston Coliseum.
Defending Champ: College of Charleston Cougars
Who’s Good: Hofstra
Who’s Sneaky: Northeastern, College of Charleston
Who Stinks Out Loud: Honestly, the whole bottom half of this league is bad, but we’ll give it to UNCW for not even getting to ten wins on the season.
Coolest Team Nickname: Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. Much like San Diego’s mascot referencing their rich heritage of bullfighting, this gives a nice hat tip to Delaware’s numerous illegal cockfighting rings?
Seeding and rules: All ten teams get in, and it’s held in Charleston.
A note about the venue, since I went down a rabbit hole on this: While they still get to play in their hometown, this is NOT the home arena for College of Charleston. In fact, it’s not the home arena for the city’s other two teams: the Citadel or Charleston Southern, either. It’s only used sometimes by Charleston Southern as an alternate arena for when their (fun fact incoming) 881-seat arena isn’t big enough for a rivalry game.
Multi-Bid League: Probably not but, there is a small chance of Hofstra getting in as an at-large if they were to lose in the tournament.
Breakdown: My initial reaction was to show Charleston some love as they are playing as close to home as possible but, their struggles with Drexel has me thinking they’ll be on upset alert from the get-go. Hofstra has been good, but hasn’t been able to really cement themselves as the true conference powerhouse with a couple of iffy losses on the road and some real ugliness last month letting James Madison drop 104 on them at home. Nevertheless, they have been a solid team by my metrics and my numbers rate them a bit higher than the next two teams. It does appear to be their bid to lose.
My Pick(s): Man, do I hate these prices. I’d love to go the same route I did in the Summit and take the 2/3 seeds together but their prices are just too short for that sort of thing. Meanwhile, at the top of the bracket, Hofstras path to the final includes a the winner of couple of teams that just got to the double-digit win mark, followed by possibly the weakest 4/5 seed match-up I’ve seen with a couple of .500 teams. They should be a small favorite in the final if I think hedging will be necessary.
Hofstra +155 (0.75x)