While most Colonial Athletic Association teams don’t officially open up conference play until late December or early January, the William & Mary Tribe and Old Dominion Monarchs kicked things off for CAA play last night, Saturday, December 2. And, the start of the 2012-2013 season couldn’t be going any more differently for both squads.
Coming into the season, Old Dominion was ranked fourth in the conference predicted order of finish and William & Mary was predicted to finish ninth in the conference. My how the tables have turned.
Following the Tribe’s 71-62 victory over the Monarchs Saturday night, Old Dominion now finds itself at the very bottom of the conference standings at 1-6 while W&M are one of three programs with a winning record at 4-3
Head coach Tony Shaver’s club has been much better than advertised. And it may be because many members of the media and fans alike underestimated just how effectively Marcus Thornton, Tim Rusthoven and Brandon Britt could compliment each other on the court. The trio is collectively averaging 49.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.9 steals and 2.0 blocks per contest. It’s safe to say that the Big 3 of William & Mary have been impacting the Tribe in almost every aspect of the game. As a team, the Tribe rank 36th in the nation in field goal percentage as well.
On the flip side, ODU has just struggled to compete at the finish of close games and string together a compete effort in a contest. In their six losses this season, the Monarchs have lost by an average of 7.5 points. Clearly there’s talent in Norfolk, VA, but head coach Blaine Taylor just can’t seem to bring everything together. Old Dominion was hoping to finish their time in the CAA with a great season and ride off into the sunset. Right now, that doesn’t look possible.
While both clubs still have a few more non-conference games to engage in before the rest of CAA play begins, maybe ODU can right the ship while W&M continues their winning ways.
Jake Fischer is the CAA Correspondent for Rant Sports-NCAA Basketball. Make sure to follow Jake on Twitter @fischsportsline.