Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Guru Report: Dead Heats Ahead In CAA

(Guru's note. If you are reading this in blogspot, there is a WNBA post, partially done tongue-in-cheek below this, the conf pairs blog has the Northeast and Summit added. And in melgreenberg.com click mel's blog to get to the other stuff and click the media link and philly local for D2 action Tuesday night and some other notes)

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA –
Old Dominion is in town Wednesday night to face Drexel at the Dragons’ Daskalakis Athletic Center as the Colonial Athletic Association finishes regular season competition.

Then it will be week off but of no rest and no relaxation with conference teams all wanting to play it safe by winning the CAA tournament that guarantees an automatic bid to the NCAA 64-team national field.

Several teams will likely be taken by the Women’s National Invitation Tournament but nothing is assured in terms of at-large bids handed by the NCAA committee.

James Madison, currently the leader of the pack, preseason favorite and defending CAA champion, seemed moving in on a shot at an at-large if the Dukes fall in a deep round of the CAAs but suffered a loss at Hostra in the last seconds Sunday.

For those who know the CAA well, that is no disgrace and the Guru has been saying the middle of the pack had a lot of teeth to claw the four frontrunners in quarterfinal play but how well do outsiders on the committee know this group.

While Delaware hosts Towson down the road in Newark trying to win out in a current three-way tie for fifth with Hofstra and Drexel, the game here has lots of implications.

As just mentioned, Drexel is trying to do likewise as Delaware, while Old Dominion is tied for second with UNC Wilmington, but only a game behind JMU.

Two seasons ago on Drexel’s Cinderella run to its first CAA title, the Dragons made history in the semifinals by handing ODU its first-ever loss in conference tourney action since joining the CAA.

Of course, the next day, coach Denise Dillon’s team still had to finish up by beating JMU on the Duke’s own floor in Harrisonburg, Va.

The CAA tourney opens next Thursday at a first-ever netural site – the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., near Washington, which was the venue last season for the Atlantic Ten women’s first neutral site action.

They are continuing the trend but have moved to Lowell, Mass., where they will open play Friday at the Tsongas Center.

But before next weekend can happen in the CAA, there needs to be a lot of unscrambling for the final seed declaration.

So if you want to keep on eye on the CAA scoreboard here’s all you need to know thanks to a pro-active email from the conference’s Nikki DeSantis.

So Nikki, the rest of this top item is all yours, take it away:

If James Madison wins, the Dukes are the #1 seed.

If James Madison, UNC Wilmington and Old Dominion are tied for first (15-3): Old Dominion is the #1 seed based on a 2-1 record against JMU/UNCW. UNC Wilmington is the #2 seed based on a 1-1 record against JMU/ODU and James Madison is the #3 seed based on its record of 1-2 against UNCW/ODU.

If James Madison and UNC Wilmington are tied for first (15-3): UNC Wilmington is the #1 seed based on the head-to-head match-up, and James Madison is the #2 seed.

If Old Dominion and UNC Wilmington are tied for second (14-4): Old Dominion is the #2 seed based on the head-to-head match-up, and UNC Wilmington is the #3 seed.

VCU is the #4 seed.

If Delaware, Drexel and Hofstra are tied for fifth (10-8) and JMU is the #1 seed: All three teams went 2-2 in head-to-head competition. Hofstra is the #5 seed based on its 1-0 record against JMU, Drexel is the #6 seed based on its 1-0 record against ODU, and Delaware is the #7 seed.

If Delaware, Drexel and Hofstra are tied for fifth (10-8) and UNCW is the #1 seed: All three teams went 2-2 in head-to-head competition. Hofstra is the #5 seed based on its 1-0 record against JMU, Drexel is the #6 seed based on its 1-0 record against Old Dominion and Delaware is the #7 seed.

If Delaware, Drexel and Hofstra are tied for fifth (9-9) and ODU is the #1 seed: All three teams went 2-2 in head-to-head competition. Hofstra is the #5 seed based on its 1-0 record against JMU, Delaware is the #6 seed based on its 1-0 record against VCU and Drexel is #7 seed.

If Drexel and Hofstra are tied: Hofstra gets the higher seed with a 1-0 record against JMU.

If Hofstra and Delaware are tied: Hofstra gets the higher seed with a 1-0 record against JMU.

If Delaware and Drexel are tied (10-8): Drexel gets the higher seed with a 1-0 record against ODU.

If Delaware and Drexel are tied (9-9): Delaware gets the higher seed with a 1-0 record against VCU.

If George Mason and Georgia State are tied for eighth (7-11 or 6-12): Georgia State is the #8 seed based on a series split and a 1-1 record against UNC Wilmington.

If Northeastern, Towson and William & Mary are tied for 10th (3-15): Northeastern is the #10 seed based on its 2-0 record against Towson/William & Mary, Towson is the #11 seed based on its 1-1 record against Northeastern/William & Mary and William & Mary is the #12 seed based on its 0-2 record against Northeastern/Towson.

If Towson and Northeastern are tied for 10th: Northeastern earns the #10 seed based on the head-to-head match-up.

If Towson and William & Mary are tied for 11th: Towson earns the #11 seed based on the head-to-head match-up.

If Northeastern and William & Mary are tied for 11th: Northeastern earns the #11 seed based on the head-to-head match-up.

Regardless of William & Mary’s outcome on Wednesday, the Tribe will be the #12 seed.

Monmouth Off To The Races

St. Francis, Pa., coached by former Penn State star and assistant coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl, is the regular season champion in the Northeast Conference.

However, Monmouth, which finished second by a game, will enter quarterfinal play this weekend as one of four high seed hosts on a six-game win streak.

The Hawks (21-8) had their best season in a quarter of a century after losing the season and nonconference opener back in November at Maryland.

Stephanie Gaitley, the former Villanova star, St. Joseph’s coach and Big Five Hall of Famer, is the head coach and one of her assistants is former Maryland star Jasmina Perazic, whose first day on the job was against the Terrapins – her alma mater.

Sophomore Carly Thibault is the daughter of WNBA Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault while the athletic director, Marilyn McNeil, is the head of the NCAA tournament selection committee.

This group has a good shot at landing in the WNIT if they don’t win the NCAA automatic bid.

Ivy Finish

While conference play gets under way, a pseudo tournament that is not actually a tournament will be going on concurrently in the Ivy League this weekend.

Yale, in second place at Columbia Friday night, and then Saturday at Cornell, will need a Princeton total collapse to avoid the Tigers winning a second straight Ivy title.

At the same time, if Yale can sweep and Harvard takes a loss at Penn Friday or Princeton Saturday the Bulldogs can finish second outright and land in the WNIT for a rare postseason appearance.

The last known Yale action after the regular season and technically it was still part of the regular season, was back in the days of the state tournament leadoff in the Eastern AIAW.

That was in the late 1970s.

Meanwhile if Yale and Harvard both lose Friday and Princeton wins, the Tigers are champions again.

In the next scenario a Princeton win over Harvard Saturday night can do the trick, no matter what Yale does, if the Tigers take the Friday game over Dartmouth in the home confines of Jadwin Gym.

Princeton will visit Penn Tuesday at The Palestra in the wrap up for both schools.

Back in the next 24 with NCAA and Conference speculation AND the CAA results. The Guru will be blogging from Drexel-ODU.

-- Mel

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