CAA men’s basketball lived up to the hype this past week, which was highlighted by a dazzling duel between Hofstra senior guard Justin Wright-Foreman and William & Mary junior forward Nathan Knight. Most teams stayed the same in this week’s power rankings, but the records are still close as March appears on the horizon.
1. Hofstra (21-4, 11-1 CAA)
The Pride demolished Elon 102-61, but then had some trouble against William & Mary. After being down 44-40 at halftime, Hofstra mounted a monstrous second half to win 93-87. Wright-Foreman had 48 points, shooting 7-for-12 from 3-point land. This win not only showed that Wright-Foreman is a lock for CAA Player of the Year, but that Hofstra can grind out games and find ways to win. The Pride hits the road this week to play Charleston and UNCW.
2. Northeastern (15-9, 9-3 CAA)
Redshirt senior guard Vasa Pusica led Northeastern to two victories this past week. With 19 points and seven rebounds against William & Mary, Pusica continues to be the key in the Huskies’ chase for a CAA title. On Saturday, Northeastern struggled with Elon and went to overtime, but the Huskies didn’t allow a single point in the extra period, lifting them to a 72-60 win. They head down to the Carolinas to play UNCW and Charleston this week in an effort to stay within striking distance of high-flying Hofstra.
3. College of Charleston (20-6, 9-4 CAA)
The Cougars battled through a tough road slate last week, beating Delaware 83-75 and Drexel 86-84. Junior guard Grant Riller and senior forward Jarrell Brantley continue to be one of the best duos in the CAA and have been key in Charleston staying inside the top three. This upcoming week presents the two biggest games for the Cougars — at home against Hofstra and Northeastern. Two wins not only propels them to second in the CAA standings, but it’d show Charleston could very well find itself repeating as CAA tournament champions.
T-4. Drexel (12-14, 6-7 CAA)
After defeating UNCW 69-57, Drexel narrowly lost to Charleston by two. Senior guard Troy Harper leads the team with 16.1 points per game, but the more impressive stat is that four other players average double-digit scoring. This week, the Dragons travel to JMU and Towson, both of which will be tough games in hostile environments.
T-4. Delaware (15-11, 7-6 CAA)
Redshirt senior forward Eric Carter is still easing his way back into things after suffering a lower-back injury, but, luckily for him, sophomore guard Ryan Allen continues to be a leader for the Blue Hens. Allen scored 17 points against Charleston and 15 against UNCW, but his scoring ability isn’t enough for the Blue Hens to remain contenders. Delaware’s CAA hopes hang on Carter’s health.
6. William & Mary (9-16, 5-8 CAA)
The good news for the Tribe: Junior forward Nathan Knight scored 37 points against Hofstra on Saturday. The bad news: Wright-Foreman scored 48 and gave William & Mary its second loss last week. Going on the road and playing Northeastern and Hofstra is the toughest road trip in the CAA this season, so the two-game losing streak isn’t alarming. The Tribe’s only game this week is at Elon, a team it lost to in Williamsburg, 76-71.
7. Towson (9-16, 5-7 CAA)
As Towson used a second-half surge to defeat JMU, one thing became clear: Junior forward Brian Fobbs is the key for the Tigers come conference tournament time. Scoring 29 points on only 15 shots isn’t an easy feat, but Fobbs did just that against the Dukes. Towson has established itself as a tough team to beat at home and four of its last six games are inside the SECU Arena. With games against Delaware and Drexel this week, Fobbs and Co. have a chance to rise up the rankings with a pair of wins.
8. Elon (8-18, 4-9 CAA)
Losing to Hofstra by 41 made it seem like the Phoenix wouldn’t give Northeastern any trouble, but they took the Huskies to overtime. Unfortunately for Elon, the scoring stopped there as Northeastern shut them out in the extra period. Senior guard Steven Santa Ana had three points against Hofstra and 12 against Northeastern. Elon hosts William & Mary this weekend, where a win would bulk up the Phoenix’s resume come time for the conference tournament.
9. UNCW (8-18, 4-9 CAA)
The Seahawks are on a five-game losing streak, and to make things worse, they play Northeastern and Hofstra this week. In UNCW’s loss to Drexel, the Seahawks shot 11.1 percent from beyond the arc. Against Delaware, they shot 38.7 percent from the field. While both games this week are at home, the hole that UNCW is in is getting deep. On the bright side, senior forward Devontae Cacok still leads the conference in rebounds (12) and is second in field goal percentage (.615). Freshman guard Kai Toews leads the CAA in assists per game with 7.7. The pieces are there, but the Seahawks need to put them together.
10. JMU (10-15, 3-9 CAA)
JMU’s 66-59 loss to Towson puts a lot of pressure on this week’s games. Against the Tigers, the Dukes came out on fire, shooting 4-for-4 from 3-point land before finishing the game 2-for-18 from behind the arc. It’s been the same problem all year: JMU can’t put a complete game together. The Dukes host Drexel and Delaware this week, and if JMU doesn’t win both games, there’s a big chance it’s the No. 10 seed when it heads to Charleston, South Carolina for the CAA tournament next month.
Contact Noah Ziegler at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more basketball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.