The CAA Tournament, which begins on Saturday March 7, has a new home this season. The Colonial Athletic Association wrapped up three years at the North Charleston Coliseum and will now go to the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington D.C. in the Congress Heights area. The arena seats less than 4,000 for basketball games, so this is going to be a much, much smaller venue than the North Charleston Coliseum.
The NCC sat almost 12,000 spectators for basketball. It didn’t really hurt scoring as much as big arenas usually do, but this is going to be a very, very different type of atmosphere. If the building is full, it should be a lot louder and a lot more energized. There will also be different sightlines for the shooters. The championship game in Charleston last year featured only 2,892 fans, so this venue makes a lot more sense.
This is a really solid mid-major conference with five teams that have the chance to go into the NCAA Tournament and make some noise. Unfortunately, only one bid is up for grabs, so the conference will not be well-represented in the Field of 68, but it should make for a really exciting tournament here.
Here are the seeds, teams, records, and odds per BetOnline Sportsbook for the 2020 CAA Tournament:
- Hofstra 23-8 (14-4) +200
- William & Mary 21-10 (13-5) +800
- Towson 19-12 (12-6) +400
- Charleston 17-13 (11-7) (H2H tiebreaker) +500
- Delaware 21-10 (11-7) +700
- Northeastern 15-15 (9-9) +275
- Elon 11-20 (7-11) +5000
- Drexel 13-18 (6-12) +2500
- UNC Wilmington 10-21 (5-13) +20000
- James Madison 9-20 (2-16) +20000
All 10 teams are in the conference tournament. How wide open is this league? The second favorite is the #6 seed! Northeastern does get lucky in that the top six teams get a bye to the quarterfinals. Their price would have been a little bit longer if they had to participate in the first round, but only the bottom four teams have to take the floor.
With a brand new venue for this conference tournament, it could be beneficial for the teams that get to play early to get a chance to get a lay of the land. Maybe that helps with some first-half plays or something of the sort on Sunday.
Here is the schedule for the 2020 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament:
Saturday March 7
4 p.m. ET: 9 UNC Wilmington vs. 8 Drexel
6:30 p.m. ET: 10 James Madison vs. 7 Elon
Sunday March 8
12 p.m. ET: 9/8 winner vs. 1 Hofstra
2:30 p.m. ET: 5 Delaware vs. 4 Charleston
6 p.m. ET: 10/7 winner vs. 2 William & Mary
8:30 p.m. ET: 6 Northeastern vs. 3 Towson
Monday March 9
6 p.m. ET: 9/8/1 winner vs. 5/4 winner
8:30 p.m. ET: 10/7/2 winner vs. 6/3 winner
Tuesday March 10
7 p.m. ET: Championship Game
Where do we start in the CAA? The #1 seed seems like a good starting point because the best unit in the conference is Hofstra’s offense. In fact, this group is so good that they are knocking on the door of the top 50 in Bart Torvik’s adjusted offensive efficiency ratings. Nobody plays defense in the CAA, which is why things are set up pretty well for Hofstra. The Pride had the best offense in the conference and their defense ranked sixth out of 10 teams.
While opponents shot 54.9% from 2 against Hofstra, they only shot 30.4% from 3 and the Pride had the second-highest TO% in the conference. Northeastern has the top defense in the conference, but rates poorly on offense. The Huskies don’t get to the free throw line a lot and don’t make a lot of threes. But, as mentioned, the #6 seed is the second favorite because that defense stands out in a league without much of it.
Towson is really interesting because the Tigers are the best free throw shooting team in the conference and the best offensive rebounding team in the conference. Towson also shoots the three well and defends the three point line well.
My approach to this conference is to start by taking Hofstra at +200. The top half of the bracket is fairly weak. Delaware is a very efficient offense from 2, but turns the ball over too much and can’t defend the perimeter. Charleston is a weak #4 seed. UNC Wilmington might give Hofstra some fits early on Sunday with a win over Drexel, but the Pride should make the finals.
At that point, the decision is whether or not we take a plus price on the other side or ride it out. There are a few options here. You can take Northwestern at +275, but I don’t like that approach. You can do a money line rollover on Towson and likely get better than +400. Towson is a slight dog to Northeastern, a slight dog to William & Mary, and a dog to Hofstra of likely 4.5 or so. Starting with $100, you’re likely to get chances at +110, +110, and +170 or thereabouts. That would be $100 to win $110, $210 to win $420, and $420 to win $720, give or take. A money line rollover of better than 4/1, even if the rough math is off.
That would be my approach. I like this Towson team and how they played down the stretch. A money line rollover on Towson on the bottom and Hofstra on the top. If you end up liking Hofstra in that final game, you’re essentially getting 4/1 for Towson to just get to the title game and can stop betting at that point.
This should be a good conference tournament, but Hofstra’s offense should rule the week.
Pick: Hofstra +200