CAA Top of the Ladder Week 6

1. Northeastern University:

Clinched 1st place, W-L 18–10 (13-3) Last Week: 1-0

Hashtags: #Clinched #BuzzerBeater #bye #TopDogs #JustGettinStarted

The Huskies clinched 1st place in the CAA with their 66-64 nail-biter victory against second place James Madison on Wednesday night. It took a team effort as sophomores Quincy Ford and Reggie Spencer scored 14 and 13 points respectively. But freshman David Walker was the hero as he nailed the go-ahead jumper in the waning seconds of the contest to finish with 11 points on the game.

Now Northeastern can turn its attention to the CAA tournament and beyond. The Huskies one glaring weakness has been their team rebounding, which is dead last in the conference averaging just over 30 boards a game.  But on the whole teams have yet to exploit this flaw, as the Huskies have played brilliant team basketball over their conference schedule, which starts with their team defensive schemes. Expect the trend to continue down in Richmond, if Northeastern continues to receive significant contributions from a handful of guys in each contest, we’ll see the Huskies in a bracket.

Northeastern finishes off the regular season with games at ineligible Georgia State (10-7) on Wednesday where they will be looking for revenge against the Panthers who handed the Huskies their first conference loss back on Jan. 30. Finally, Northeastern has lowly Old Dominion (2-14) at home on Saturday to wrap up the regular season.

2. Towson University:

T-2nd place, W-L: 16-13 (11-5) Last Week: 1-0

Hashtags: #PlayinforPride #WhoElsebut #Jerrelle #MoralVictories

Although they will not be able to make some noise in the tournament, the Tigers have the chance to finish off a strong regular season campaign and finish in the number two slot with the James Madison loss.

The Tigers pulled out a tough 72-71 win at home against Drexel on Saturday in their lone game this week. Junior stud Jerrelle Benimon had another double-double with 19 and 10. His three-point play with 1:20 remaining put Towson up 71-68 to edge the Dragons.

The Tigers can still enjoy the role of spoilers in their two tilts this week. First up is George Mason (10-6) on Tuesday. The Patriots sit one game behind both Towson and Delaware for the two seed and Mason plays both schools this week. The Tigers finish off the schedule on Saturday by hosting Hofstra (4-12) on Saturday.

3. Delaware University:

T-2nd place, W-L 16-13 (11-5) Last Week: 2-0

Hashtags: #2OT #YouThreattinMeBro #BestoftheRest #RightToNotPlayNU

It hasn’t been easy down the stretch for the Blue Hens but this week they were able to pull two wins out. On Thursday, Delaware started Drexel’s slide by outlasting them 73-71 in double overtime. Junior Devon Sadler was the difference, scoring a career-high 31 points in addition to making some late free throws to outpace the Dragons.

In their second contest Delaware outlasted UNC Wilmington 79-78 as the Blue Hens seemingly had no answer for Seahawks senior forward Keith Rendleman who had 26 points and 12 boards as the Wilmington overcame a double-digit second half deficit. But the Blue Hens would have the last laugh thanks to sophomore Jarvis Threatt posting a double-double of his own in addition to his five assists.

Since Towson is academically ineligible for postseason play Delaware has the inside track on the second seed for the CAA tournament. They have the reverse schedule this final week of Towson. The Blue Hens’ begin the week with a game at Hofstra (4-12) on Wednesday. And will wrap up the schedule at home against George Mason (10-6) on Saturday.

4. George Mason University:

4th place, W-L 17-11 (10-6) Last Week: 2-0

Hashtags: #ImStillHere #BIGgames #NotDoneYet #NowOrNever

The Patriots are still alive in the hunt for the two seed. On Wednesday Mason traveled to Hofstra and routed the Pride 79-50 as the Patriots shook off a blowout loss to Georgia State the previous week.

Mason returned home for a game against William and Mary on Saturday and barely pulled out the win by a 60-58 margin. Sophomore Eric Copes was the difference, hitting a go-ahead jumper with .5 seconds left in the contest.

This is make or break week for the Patriots with games against the two teams ahead of them. On Tuesday night Mason will take on Towson (11-5) at home before hitting the road in the regular season finale to take on Delaware on Saturday. Two wins means that the Patriots will take second place in the CAA and the two seed in the tournament.

5. James Madison University:

T-5th place, W-L: 16-14 (10-7); Last Week: 0-2

Hashtags: #Flattened #slump #BummerBro #WerentYouIn2ndOnce?

The Dukes had the chance to put a dent in the Huskies’ conference lead, but it was not in cards as they got David Walker-ed in the waning seconds of Wednesday’s contest in Boston 66-64.

As if things could not get any worse for JMU, they followed up the Northeastern game with another tough six-point loss at Georgia State 68-62, which all but locks in the Bulldogs with the three seed in the tourney.

JMU has a light week to close out the regular season with only one game at William and Mary.

*** Please note that Georgia State is ineligible for postseason play as they are leaving the conference next season. The Panthers have an identical conference record as JMU but a worse overall record. Usually Georgia State would have been above JMU in the ladder, but this is the last week in the regular season and we’re getting ready for the playoffs here at the Ladder.