Breaking Down Preseason Polls Plus the TV Schedule and GoMason Mobile
So it’s CAA media day, which means a couple of things for Colonial Athletic Association basketball fans. First, it means that the preseason All-CAA teams are announced. Secondly, it means the preseason polls come out predicting the order of finish for the conference’s 12 teams.
Let’s start by taking a look at the women’s preseason poll. The Patriots were picked to finish 10th by the league’s coaches. Mason, which finished 12th last season going 3-15 in the conference, is expected to move up in the standings while Towson and Northeastern were expected to drop. Mason’s Brittany Poindexter was named preseason honorable mention, the first Mason player to receive a preseason accolade since Lateisha Wade in 2007.
The Patriots return five starters from last year’s squad which won 10 games, doubling the previous season’s win total. If the Patriots can pick up five more wins this season, they will have their first winning season since the 2003-04 campaign which ended with Mason playing in the WNIT. The Patriots will have a chance to finish strong as their final two home games are against Towson and Northeastern.
Picked to finish first in the women’s poll was James Madison, which won the CAA title last year and returns All-America senior guard Dawn Evans who was fifth in the nation in scoring last year and has a shot at becoming the CAA’s all-time leading scorer. Picked to finish second was Old Dominion, which, in and of itself is news. In third is Delaware, with All-American Elena Delle Donne. The sophomore was named both CAA Rookie and Player of the Year last year when she was third in the nation in scoring.
The Fighting Delle Donnes come to Patriot Center on February 17. GoMason Blog can’t imagine a better place to be on a Thursday night.
On the men’s side, the defending champion Old Dominion Monarchs were picked to finish first as they return four starters from last year’s squad. Yes, the Monarchs have an impressive group returning but the starter they lost was first-team All-CAA selection Gerald Lee. That won’t be an easy hole to fill but the Monarchs will be keen to do a better job of defending their title than the last time they won it. In case you don’t remember, that was back in 2005-06 when they were nationally ranked in some preseason polls but finished fourth in the CAA regular-season standings. To their credit, they went to the NIT Final Four that year.
The Patriots have had quite a run of success for more than a decade and for the 13th-straight season, they were picked to finish among the top four in the league. Mason, which returns all five starters, was predicted to finish second in the CAA standings.
Cam Long, who has twice been named All-CAA, was named preseason first-team All-CAA for the second straight season. Long started slow battling leg cramps early in the season last year, got better as the year progressed, had a ridiculously good month of January last year before tailing off over the season’s final month. GoMason Blog does not expect a slow start this year as the senior will be looking to answer all the questions in the season’s first six games. Being named preseason honorable mention was Ryan Pearson.
VCU was picked to finish third. The Rams have lost their second player to the NBA in the past three seasons. Will another NBA-bound prospect find his way to their roster this season?
Hold on to your hats but James Madison was picked to finish fourth. The Dukes, from 2003-04 through 2007-08 tallied just 17 league wins. What the Dukes have this year is Denzel Bowles, who was an absolute beast in the paint last year, and Julius Wells, who was the 2009 Rookie of the Year.
In case you missed the press release earlier today on GoMason.com, at least 14 games are scheduled to be televised this season. That leaves seven of Mason’s 14 home games untelevised. The GoMason Blog won’t be taking any excuses for any empty seats spotted in the crowd.
Finally, are you as excited about GoMason Mobile as the GoMason Blog is? Being able to be anywhere and listen free to live broadcasts of men’s and women’s basketball games on MasonRadio? We can already hear Bill Rohland’s voice coming over our smart phone.