2020 CAA Basketball Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
This year's edition of the Colonial Conference Tournament gets underway on March 5 with two games being played in the first round of the tournament. Nos. 1 and 2 get their tournament underway in the second round against the winners of the first round, while seeds three through seven also get started against one another on day two of the tournament. The winner of the tournament is designated the Colonial Tournament Champion and receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins March 17 with the First-Four play-in games. The entire tournament will be held at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C.
This tournament has seen its fair share of winners over the last 10 years with seven different teams winning the tournament at least once. Old Dominion won it in back-to-back years in 2010-11, while UNC Wilmington won it back-to-back in 2016-17. Northeastern has won the tournament twice in the past five years, including last year when they beat Hofstra 82-74 in the finals.
The Favorite: Hofstra (+190)
For my money, Hofstra is the team to beat in this year's CAA Basketball Tournament, and with good reason. The Pride own a 14-4 conference record, which places them one game better than second-place William and Mary. The Pride has won nine of their last 10 games and have covered the spread in nine of those games. To say they are playing some great basketball at the right time would be an understatement. Hofstra can throw a bunch of different looks at you, and it's up to the opponent to figure out how to contain them. They have five scorers who average double-digits in points per game, led by Desure Buie, who scores 18.5 ppg while contributing nearly six assists per contest. Fellow senior guard, Eli Pemberton isn't too far off Buie, as he contributes 17.4 points per game.
Hofstra is ranked 58th in the country (first in the Colonial) according to KenPom for adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring 108.7 points per 100 possessions. They are also second in adjusted defensive efficiency, which means Hofstra can score and defend with the best of them. It'll take a big-time shock for Hofstra to not navigate themselves to at least a finals appearance.
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The Contenders: Towson (+400)
For as great as Hofstra has been down the stretch, the only team to knock them off is this Towson team that has won six of their last seven games entering the conference tournament. Towson relies heavily on senior guard Brian Fobbs (16.2 ppg) and sophomore guard Allen Betrand, who chips in with 14 points per game. The Tigers have also been a covering machine over the last handful of games, beating the posted number in five of their last six games.
Towson has a great path to the finals as they have to deal with a Northeastern team they just recently beat in the regular-season finale and then will likely take on a William & Mary team that the Tigers already beat on the road. It's tough to win a conference tournament by winning three games in as many days, but the Tigers play at the slowest tempo in the CAA (65 possessions per game) and 317th out of 353 teams in D1. This slow style could help conserve some juice for the business end of the tournament and ultimately get Towson across the finish line first. At +400 this could be the steal of the tournament.
The Sleeper: Charleston (+475)
Charleston has an extremely difficult path to get to the finals. However, if there is one thing we've learned from watching many conference tournaments in the past, it's that one person can catch fire and lead his team to victory. Charleston has a puncher's chance given the fact that they have senior guard Grant Riller in their colors. Riller is the conference's leading scorer at 21.7 points per game, but he also contributes in every other aspect of the game, turning in 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He shoots 50 percent from the field, 36 percent from beyond the arc and 86 percent from the free-throw line. If he can get hot and stay hot, Charleston could have a chance.
Tournament Matchups Schedule
Game 1: No.8 Drexel vs. No. 9 UNCW (4:00 p.m. Saturday, March 7)
Game 2: No.7 Elon vs. No.10 James Madison (6:30 p.m., Saturday, March 7)
Game 3: Winner of Game 1 vs No.1 Hofstra (12:00 pm. Sunday, March 7)
Game 4: No.4 Delaware vs No.5 Charleston (2:30 pm. Sunday, March 8)
Game 5: Winner of Game 2 vs No.2 William & Mary (6:00 pm. Sunday, March 8)
Game 6: No.6 Northeastern vs No.3 Townson (8:30 pm. Sunday, March 8)
Game 7: Winner of Game 3 vs Winner of Game 4 (6:00 pm. Monday, March 9)
Game 8: Winner of Game 5 vs Winner of Game 6 (8:30 pm. Monday, March 9)
Game 9: Winner of Game 7 vs Winner of Game 8 (9:00 pm. Tuesday March 10).
Colonial Conference Tournament Predictions:
It's hard to look past Hofstra as the obvious winners of this tournament. They play an extremely exciting brand of basketball and can score with the best of them. They also defend well but have minor issues protecting the rim, so bigger teams maybe be able to exploit that weakness. We touched on how hard it is to win three games in three days, and that Towson's pace of play might benefit them, but scoring is what this game's about, and they don't have that killer instinct that Hofstra possesses. We think Hofstra is the play at +190, and they'll be chomping at the bit to get another game against Townson and exact some revenge.
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