It Is That Time…

Side note: We’ll review Saturday and preview Monday’s games around lunchtime on Monday. The CAA coaches call begins and I’ll try to mine a few good quotes and post them here.

***

There’s always been something sexy and heroic about overcoming adversity to succeed. This is central to the existence of underdogs. Pick your sport–heck, pick your topic–and you will always find a story worth telling. It is a story people will eat up and make their own. Some will use it to help them fight whatever it is they need it to fight.

We see it in popular movies (Braveheart, Little Miss Sunshine); we see it in politics (not going there but you can fill in the blank). Your Sunday paper will feature one on its front page. As a society we depend on stories and we depend on the belief that we can succeed if we work hard enough, whatever success means to us. Secretly we are all underdogs so we gravitate towards those stories.

Our little old conference is just that, an underdog, and we spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about this fact and using it to frame any scrap of information we obtain. It makes our nonconference season a little more interesting, a little sexier. The winning percentage of our opponents opponents matters, it would seem.

But after spending most of this Saturday watching, listening, and making phone calls about the games in front of me it hit me. I know why coaches have worn out their collective dentin layer grinding their teeth. When it comes to conference season, storytime is over. They know that for all the gnashing and gnawing the season is defined, in earnest, in these next two months.

It became very clear when I paired the results of Saturday’s action with a review of my “Revisionist History” research. All a season preview amounts to is one guy’s story and I’m not going to subject you to that. Granted, what follows is a brief rundown of what I believe is important–I do believe I owe you that–but a full fledged effort is on its way to the round file.

The point is to forget everything that occurred between November 10 and New Year’s Day (except for the events that unfolded on December 6). Train your eye towards Saturday, Monday, and the rest of the season. If not, you are going to miss a whole lotta fun.

***

That said, I’m still convinced the teams that will sit in the Richmond Coliseum bleachers in early March and pretend they are paying attention to the action on the court are: VCU, ODU, Mason, and Nor’easter. Pick your order and have fun matching the teams. The point is that I can make a case for all four of these teams winning the conference and I would be absolutely correct. And absolutely incorrect.

I also see Friday road uniforms for JMU, Drexel, and The ub. Matt Brady is going to make JMU a winner again. He is the ideal coach for that program (more on this in the coming few days). Bruiser will win some games and play hard, but they need a smidgen more talent. And we don’t need to go into depth with a potential historically bad Ub team.

The Middle Five? Holy gamoley, break out your tiebreaker scenarios. Give me Delaware fifth. Monte Ross finally has the Hens playing how we all believed they would play. I’ll take Hofstra sixth, because I like Pecora’s ability to play big and small, fast and slow. But the Pride badly needs a point guard. Flip a three-sided coin for Towson, Georgia State, and The Tribe. Put them in that order, if you must.

It sounds patronizingly basic, but shooting the basketball is the most important facet. But I mean it in these terms: the teams are so doggone close in talent, a 35% night, home or away, is a recipe for a loss. The flip side is points per possession allowed. This is a factor of solid defense, FG% defense, and turnover rate.

The sum: 14-4 with a tiebreaker may well land the #1 seed, and 10-8 with a tiebreaker may be a Friday break.

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~ by mglitos on January 4, 2009.

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