In college basketball, Conference tournaments are enigmas. These tournaments are only the first chapter of the crazily insane dramatics that sparkle in the month of March. Win your tournament, and you punch your ticket to the big dance. Punch that ticket, and the life long dream of 15 or so young men becomes reality.
This season, in the Colonial Athletic Association, only 7 teams will have an opportunity to make history in the conference’s postseason challenge. In 2012, 12 different schools competed with sportsmanship, integrity and passion to earn the right to be called CAA Champions. Unfortunately, in 2013, that won’t be the case.
The initial hit came when Virginia Commonwealth University departed the conference for the Atlantic 10. Next, Old Dominion and Georgia State finalized their own plans to end their affiliation with the CAA. Finally, two more schools have joined the conversation of decreasing the number of CAA Tournament seeds.
The Towson Tigers and the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks have both been declared ineligible for the 2013 postseason due to low Academic Progress Report (APR) scores.
With these two universities ineligible for postseason play, the remaining teams that will compete in the conference tourney come March are Delaware, Drexel, George Mason, Hofstra, James Madison, Northeastern and William & Mary.
Moving forward, the CAA will be forced to change their normal tournament format. This season, the top seed will get a bye to the second-round semifinals, and there will be three quarterfinal first round games in a seven-team tournament. Essentially, a school will only have to win two or three postseason games and win the CAA Championship.
The conference might be making another change to their annual competition as well. Now that VCU is no longer in the mix, CAA officials are also looking to change the location of the tournament from Richmond to another east coast city. So far, Baltimore, Maryland has been leaked as the front-runner.
With all that being said, the tournament consisting of less teams could in fact be a blessing in disguise. Will this allow a Cinderella to earn and at-large bid? Will the next NCAA legendary postseason be born right before the 7 teams’ eyes? We’ll just have to wait and see come March.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for the Arena Pulse at Rant Sports. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.