The Grandmaster Gives His Furious Five…

Unless you are Billy Gillispie or whoever the hell coaches Illinois, practice begins in four days. CAA Media Day is in eight days. The season tips off in 28 days when Nor’Easter heads to Michigan to play IUPUI in the 2K Classic.

That’s too many numbers to digest and they all will change tomorrow. So forget those and understand this truth: the season is imminent.

(Side note: Honestly I applaud the coaches for the unique approach to Midnight Madness. For all the you-know-what coaches get, they face inane NCAA rules. When they find a way to make something work, a pat on the back is warranted. Creativity in the face of absurdity makes me smile.)

That makes it time to break out the always-interesting, usually-wrong CAA season preview. The goal is one each day, but we may double up. As with everything here, it is schedule dependent. MPH rules. (That’s not miles per hour; it’s mortgage paying half.)

A note for the new visitors-using a “place range” may seem odd, but it is warranted. The goal of this exercise is not to predict the standings; predictions are very hollow and very dated and nobody goes back to check on their accuracy anyway.

No, this is more of a preseason primer-I’ve slotted the teams so that you understand relative strength to one another. If you say: “my thoughts are pretty close to yours, but I’d switch Delaware and Georgia State” that means we agree. I don’t split hairs because every team in the conference is a sprained ankle away from oblivion.

The final number for you is five, which is the number of buckets I’ve carved each team’s outlook. Plus it is manageable and allows me to use old school rap and old school Shakespeare in the same entry.

***

Alphabetically Delaware comes first in the conference, so we’ll start with Monte Ross’s crew. Remember last season the Hens jetted out to a 5-0 start in conference, including a fun comeback victory over George Mason (unless you root for the Patriots, of course). Delaware finished the season at 9-9, and if you invoke Dennis Green’s spirit, that’s exactly what Ross thought his team was.

Notably, the nine conference wins were two more than the two previous seasons combined. And their 14 overall wins tied the past two years’ total. That’s Shaver-esque progress.

Three Key Statements

  1. Brian Johnson is the best point guard in the league not named Maynor.
  2. Marc Egerson earned third team all CAA honors despite not playing until the semester break.
  3. The freshman to sophomore year jump is huge, and Fonzie Dawson was very good as a freshman.

Season Shaper(s)

  1. Adam Pegg, a 6-10 freshman. The one area Ross can question is on the block. Pegg will get an opportunity to make a difference. Physically, Pegg is ready.
  2. Key stat, if your name is Egerson or Dawson: only Brian Johnson had more assists than turnovers last season.

The Underdog

Everybody is foaming at the mouth about Georgia State’s transfers. Quietly, Jawan Carter steps in without fanfare but you should get to know him. Carter was on the A10 all rookie team (at St. Joseph’s) and can flat out shoot. While other Hens are decent enough shooters, the bomb is a weapon for Carter.

Hey Coach, What Happens If…

  • Pegg needs a year to mature and you end up playing four guards?
  • Jim Ledsome remains inconsistent?
  • Your holiday season includes a conference season-opening victory at ODU and a New Year home win versus VCU?

If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak:

Ross has upgraded the talent level on this squad, so if you stop the number one or number two options he gets to turn to a quality player, not a former manager.

Place range is third through sixth.

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~ by mglitos on October 14, 2008.

One Response to “The Grandmaster Gives His Furious Five…”

  1. Love the new digs.

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