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Week 1 CAA Power Rankings

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Who Has Made Strides Towards The Top Of The CAA Thus Far?

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Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

As the opening week of the 2012-2013 men’s college basketball season is almost over it’s time to power rank the teams of the Colonial Athletic Association based off of their respective opening weeks.

There has been plenty of change in the conference power rankings as of late. Many teams have looked plenty different on the court then they did on paper during the preseason, and that’s been the main reason for all the movement.

Drexel and Delaware are still atop the league, but things are a little bit different now, following the NIT Season Tip-Off. The rest of the conference’s rankings look completely different than they did a week ago.

All this fluctuation definitely proves that there are most likely around seven or eight teams who could possibly contend for a top-5 spot in the conference standings. In the following slides, we look at how each team fared against their previous opponents and glance at the week ahead.

Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Throughout this 2012-2013 men’s basketball season, he will be contributing weekly CAA Power Rankings every Thursday. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.

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No. 11- Hofstra Pride

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Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 0-2 (Monmouth, Purdue)

Not only have the Hofstra Pride men’s basketball team lost their first two games of the young 2012-2013 season, but they’ve gotten shellacked by their opponents. Losing 83-54 to the Purdue Boilermakers is pretty acceptable this early in the year, but falling to Monmouth 91-62 on opening night is pretty unfortunate. On the bright side, the head coach Mo Cassara has seen an impressive beginning to freshman Jimmy Hall’s college basketball career, as he’s stepped up to average 14 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in the absence of Jamal Coombs-McDaniel. Hopefully, with Coombs-McDaniel and Taran Buie coming back from suspension this week, the Pride will be able right the ship this week.

Next week, the Pride enter the 2K Sports Classic this weekend and play South Dakota State on Friday, DC on Saturday and Marshall on Sunday.

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No. 10- Towson Tigers

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Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 0-1 (Charleston)

The Towson Tigers will be squaring off against the College of Charleston Cougars for many years to come now that they have joined the CAA. And, unfortunately for the Tigers, that rivalry doesn’t look like it will be a favorable matchup for the time being. In the team’s 75-58 loss to the Cougars, they never led and at one point were down 33 points. Fortunately, for head coach Pat Skerry, Georgetown transfer, Jerrelle Benimon looked very impressive during his 23-point, 5-rebound performance. Hopefully the rest of the team will step up alongside him in the weeks to come.

Next week, the Tigers will compete in the Comfort Suites Invitational. They’ll take on Radford on Friday, Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Keenesaw State on Sunday and Cincinnati Christian on Monday, all in Richmond, KY.

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No. 9- Georgia State Panthers

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Mark Dolejs-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 0-2 (Duke, BYU)

The Georgia State Panthers have started off their 2012-2013 campaign playing their two toughest opponents right off the back. While they are 0-2, head coach Ron Hunter and company have nowhere to go but up. Now, it’s time for the Panthers to turn things around and make a little bit of a statement in their last season in the CAA. A positive note for the Panthers, has been the relative scoring success from their backcourt of Devonta White, Manny Atkins and R.J. Hunter, who collectively are averaging 42.5 points per game.

Next week, the Panthers will take on Monmouth, Tennessee State and South Alabama to close out the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

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No. 8- UNCW Seahawks

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Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 1-1 (UNC-Asheville, Richmond)

After their opening 67-59 victory over the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs, the UNCW Seahawks looked like they were building a little something around senior standout Keith Rendleman. But all of that confidence was immediately deflated following their 101-58 loss at the hands of Richmond. In their embarrassing loss to the Spiders, the Seahawks looked more like many expected them too this season, with Rendleman leading the way at 14 points and the next highest scorer coming in at 7 points. However, their opening victory was enough to push them to the 8-spot in the power rankings.

Next week, the Seahawks have some tough matchups. They take on Ohio on Friday, and travel to Purdue on Wednesday.

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No. 7- William & Mary Tribe

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Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 2-0 (Hampton, Liberty)

Unlike many media members’ preseason thoughts, the William & Mary Tribe have started off their 2012-2013 season swinging. In the team’s first two games, head coach Tony Shaver lead W&M in defeats over Hampton 69-51 and Liberty 71-59. Of course, Tim Rusthoven and Marcus Thornton are scoring the ball efficiently, but their success has been largely due to the surprising offensive success from junior guard Brandon Britt. Last season, in 24 minutes per game, Britt scored 9 points a game for the Tribe. Playing 30 minutes per contest in the Tribe’s first games, Britt has been putting up 19 points per night.

Next week, will take on High Point on Saturday and Miami (OH) on Wednesday.

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No. 6- Old Dominion Monarchs

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Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 1-2 (Holy Cross, Morgan State, UTSA)

The Old Dominion Monarchs haven’t started off their 2012-2013 season on the right foot, forcing head coach Blaine Taylor’s club out of the CAA Top-5. The Monarchs lost to Holy Cross 46-45 on opening night 46-45 and fell to UTSA 79-70 on Sunday. In between those games, on Saturday night, the Monarchs defeated Morgan State 72-61. Newcomer DeShawn Painter is leading the team in scoring, but it’s not good when your leading scorer on a college basketball team is averaging only 10 points a night. The Monarchs do have 5 players average 9 points or higher per game, but they’re missing something. It might be the team’s lack of three-point shooting. As a team, ODU is only shooting 21.7 percent from beyond the arc. That needs to change.

Next week, the Monarchs will take on Cleveland State on the road on Saturday and will host Virginia Military on Wednesday.

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No. 5- James Madison Dukes

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Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 0-0

The James Madison Dukes’ standing in the CAA power rankings improved while they sat on the sidelines and watched some of their CAA foes lose some tough matchups. They’ve seen a lot happen in the college basketball world, including Shabazz Muhammad be ruled ineligible for the time being. Muhammad’s ineligibility will have a big effect on the Duke’s matchup against the UCLA Bruins on Thursday as part of the Progressive Legends Classic.

Next Week, the Dukes will also play Duquesne on Monday, Youngstown State on Tuesday and North Dakota State on Wednesday in the Progressive Legends Classic as well.

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No. 4- George Mason Patriots

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Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 1-1 (Virginia, Bucknell)

The George Mason Patriots started off their 2012-2013 campaign with a triumphant opening victory over ACC foe Virginia on opening night, 63-59. But, unfortunately they followed up that big win by losing to Bucknell 61-56. The highlight of the Patriots first two games has clearly been junior guard Bryon Allen. Allen, who’s been averaging 11 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, was named CAA Player of the Week.

Next week, Mason is set to play Mercer in the Paradise Jam and will also play two other games in the tournament against undetermined opponents at this time.

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No. 3- Northeastern Huskies

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Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 2-0 (Boston, Princeton)

The Northeastern Huskies men’s basketball team has become synonymous with the term “buzzer-beater” at the beginning of this 2012-2013 season. On opening night, Demetrious Pollard drilled a three, from the top of the key, at the buzzer, to defeat cross-town rival, Boston University. Next, Reggie Spencer hit a buzzer-beating layup off of a Zach Stahl driving dish to sink the Princeton Tigers on Tuesday night. While the Huskies’ late-game heroics have been exciting, the team’s determination to never give up and claw for victories has definitely been a positive for head coach Bill Coen. You can see, that even without senior captain Jon Lee, the team is still benefitting off of their excellent team chemistry they built during their extensive summer program.

Next week, Huskies will take on Vermont tomorrow night and UC Riverside on Wednesday.

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No. 2- Drexel Dragons

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Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 0-1 (Kent State)

Very unexpectedly, the Drexel Dragons are currently no longer the top team in the CAA. After looking very sluggish and extremely inefficient on offense, the Dragons fell to Kent State in their only game of the first week. Meanwhile, the top-ranked team in the conference is taking care of business. Most notably, for head coach Bruiser Flint, the Dragons’ star-studded backcourt of Frantz Massenat and Damion Lee were nowhere to be found in the team’s opening contest. Hopefully for Dragons fans this definitely talented team will find their groove soon.

Next week, Drexel will take on Illinois State on tonight and UPenn on Saturday night.

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No. 1- Delaware Blue Hens

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Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Last Week: 2-1 (La Salle, Penn, Virginia)

After dropping their opening contest to the La Salle Explorers, the Delaware Blue Hens have been on tear as of late, making a lot of noise in the NIT Season Tip-Off. First, the Blue Hens defeated the UPenn Quakers by a convincing 84-69. Then, they beat the Virginia Cavaliers 59-53 en route to a matchup with the Kansas State Wildcats in the tournament Semifinals at Madison Square Garden. Led by Devon Saddler, Jamelle Hagins and Javaris Threatt. Head coach Monte Ross must be very excited for their big matchup next Thursday. If the Blue Hens can make some noise in the national spotlight, they’ll lock up this top spot in the rankings for a long time coming.

Next week, the Blue Hens will look to continue their NIT success.