College Basketball: Week 4 CAA Power Rankings

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At This Point, Does Anyone Even Know The Favorite For The CAA Championship?

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Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

With the 2012-2013 men’s college basketball season now in full swing, the Colonial Athletic Association has had plenty of exciting moments, season-changing injuries and buzzer-beaters.

And, naturally, there has been quite a lot change in the conference power rankings lately, as well. Many teams have looked pretty different on the court than they did on paper during the preseason, and that’s been the main reason for all the fluctuation.

Drexel hasn’t been what they were hyped to be this season as of late, but they’re still floating towards the top of the league. Delaware looked very successful in the first two weeks of the season, but have now fallen a little after their impressive NIT Season Tip-Off run. Now, two other teams have taken the top-2 slots and four teams are knotted up at very different 4-4 records.

All this new construction in the power rankings 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- Old Dominion Monarchs

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Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE

Overall: 1-7

Last Week: 0-2 (William & Mary, Richmond)

During this week’s action, the Old Dominion Monarchs unfortunately sunk to a new low. This team is lead by a legendary CAA coach in Blaine Taylor, has one of the best high-major transfers in DeShawn Painter and also boast veteran guards Dimitri Batten and Donte Hill, but for some reason have not been able to put together many complete games of basketball thus far this season. Their biggest problem has clearly been on the defensive end of the floor, where they yield approximately 70 points per game. Defense was an issue against William & Mary and Richmond this week as well.

Next week, Old Dominion will play host to former conference foe VCU on Friday.

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No. 10- Hofstra Pride

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Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Overall 3-6

Last Week: 0-2 (Southern Methodist, Wagner)

Following a dreadful week, the Hofstra Pride now own a four-game losing streak and have fallen fast in the conference standings. This week, things took a turn for the worst when starters, Shaquille Stokes and Jimmy Hall, and impact freshmen Dallas Anglin and Kentrell Washington, were all arrested and suspended from the team indefinitely last Friday for a campus burglary scandal. The hole that those players have left was extremely visible last week in their 73-47 loss to Southern Methodist and a 52-44 loss to Wagner. This team will truly struggle without these key players for as long as they are removed from the team.

Next week, Hofstra takes on LIU Brooklyn on Saturday.

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No. 9- James Madison Dukes

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Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Overall: 3-5

Last Week: 2-0 (Winthrop, East Tennessee State)

The James Madison Dukes are currently enjoying their first winning streak of the season, and it couldn’t have come in a better way and a better time. Beating Winthrop and East Tennessee State by 10 and 25 points, respectively, is something for a previously 1-5 team to hang their hat on. In both victories, two seniors stepped up for the Dukes, Rayshawn Goins against Winthrop and A.J. Davis vs. East Tennessee State. Upperclassmen leadership is something head coach Matt Brady has desperately needed during the team’s rocky first six games. Moving forward, the Dukes now have some momentum entering a huge home matchup.

Next Week, the Dukes will welcome Richmond on Saturday to Harrisburg, VA.

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No. 8- Drexel Dragons

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Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Overall: 2-6

Last Week: 0-2 (Rider, Tennessee St)

Enough is enough. It’s time to rank the Drexel Dragons what they truly are right now, and that’s a team in the bottom half of the CAA. Their record speaks for itself and, frankly, they haven’t truly competed in a large number of their games. This week, the Dragons lost to Rider by 9 and fell to Tennessee State by 10. Sophomore guard Damion Lee has started to increase his scoring and junior guard Frantz Massenat has starting dishing the ball at a higher rate, but the team is still struggling overall defensively. Those struggles will definitely be something head coach Bruiser Flint will have to work with his boys on before conference play begins in a few weeks.

Next week, the Dragons take on Rider on Saturday night and Tennessee State on Tuesday.

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No. 7- Georgia State Panthers

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Mark Dolejs-US PRESSWIRE

Overall 4-4

Last Week: 1-1 (Louisiana Tech, Liberty)

In a triumphant 67-66 victory over the Liberty Flames on Sunday, the Georgia State Panthers ended their second two-game losing streak of the season. In the team’s 86-68 loss to Louisiana Tech, the Panthers struggled defensively, but allowing Raheem Appleby to pour in a career-high 34 points. GSU squeaked out their victory over Liberty came on a late three-pointer from Rashaad Richardson with 3 seconds left. The team’s inconsistency has led to their fitting 4-4 record, but they have played themselves into good enough shape to compete for the conference title come CAA play.

Next week they play Division II Southern Poly on Saturday.

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No. 6- UNCW Seahawks

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Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Overall: 4-4

Last Week: 1-1 (Marshall, Coker)

The UNCW Seahawks have been Keith Rendleman’s team ever since the senior standout’s sophomore campaign in 2010-2011. But, this season, the Seahawks have become a true definition of a team. Head coach Buzz Peterson now has role players to surround his stud in the middle, most notably sharpshooter Tanner Milson, freshman guard Craig Ponder and Rendleman’s frontcourt mate Cedrick Williams. With a formidable overall team, the Seahawks look to have a chance to seriously compete in the CAA for the first time in a long time.

Next week, UNCW face Georgia Tech on Saturday on the road.

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No. 5- Towson Tigers

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Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Overall 4-4

Last Week: 1-1 (UMBC, Vermont)

The Towson Tigers had the most triumphant week of the 4-4 teams. After falling behind to UMBC by 10 points at one point in a losing effort, the Tigers clawed and fought as hard as they could. Then, Towson brought that feisty spirit to Vermont when they impressively beat the Catamounts 68-64 in their house. If Jerrelle Benimon continues to lead this team both on the court and in the locker room, they should be able to continue making noise out of Maryland.

Next week, the Tigers will have a tough week at Benimon’s former school, No. 15 Georgetown, on Saturday and at Temple Wednesday.

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No. 4- Delaware Blue Hens

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Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Overall: 3-6

Last Week: 1-1 (Duke, Radford)

After falling to No. 2 Duke 88-50, the Delaware Blue Hens ended their five-game losing streak with their 68-59 victory over Radford. There’s nothing really to say about the team’s loss to the Blue Devils. Nobody was really expecting Delaware to compete against the No. 2 team in the nation on the road. But, if you look at the Blue Hens’ win this week, you can still see the bright spots on this club. Devon Saddler and Jamelle Hagins are continuing to put up very impressive numbers and both look to live up to their Preseason All-CAA 1st Team Selections. Behind their impressive inside-out combination, the Hens have still shown enough promise to be a serious contender for the CAA crown.

Next week, Delaware will play inner-state rival Delaware State on Saturday.

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No. 3- William & Mary Tribe

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Dak Dillon-US PRESSWIRE

Overall: 4-3

Last Week: 1-0 (Old Dominion)

The William & Mary Tribe continued their impressive beginning to their 2012-2013 campaign with a triumphant victory in the first game of CAA conference play this season. With a 71-62 win over the Monarchs, head coach Tony Shaver and his Big 3 of Marcus Thornton, Tim Rusthoven and Brandon Britt are continuing to impress thus far this season. Now, they’re starting to look like a real contender in the conference

Next week, the Tribe will play Radford on Saturday after they finish their contest with Howard tonight.

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No. 2- Northeastern Huskies

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Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Overall: 4-4

Last Week: 0-1 (UMass)

Despite extending their current losing streak to three games, the Northeastern Huskies did look pretty impressive against UMass until they let the Minutemen storm back and take the lead late in historic Matthews Arena. At 4-4, head coach Bill Coen’s club looks to be in the thick of CAA contention, and their best player, senior guard Jonathan Lee, hasn’t even played a minute this season.

Next Week, the Huskies will take on La Salle in Boston.

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No. 1 George Mason Patriots

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Rafael Suanes-US PRESSWIRE

Overall: 6-3

Last Week: 1-1 (Maryland, UMBC)

The George Mason Patriots sport the best record in the CAA by far and are winning games convincingly. They did so this week with their 74-63 win over UMBC and battled Maryland very hard on a neutral court during their 69-62 loss. Sherrod Wright has started to really pack on the scoring for head coach Paul Hewitt and has seriously Eric Copes’ return from suspension. Even though many doubted the Patriot’s ability to have an efficient offensive strategy without Ryan Pearson or Mike Morrison this year, this club looks to be the early favorite for the conference clown.

Next week, the Patriots will take on Northern Iowa on Saturday.

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