Weekly CAA Pick 'Em Challenge
Here we go! Saturday's slate with my picks. Who've you got?
UNCW @ Towson (noon)
This is going to be one of our toughest non-conference bouts all season. I'm tempted to go with the "anti-jinx" and pick Towson, as on paper, they're scary, with Mike Morsell scoring in droves, and athletic big men like Adala Moto creating havoc (much like Clemson's athletic big men did to us on Wednesday). But I do think their offense isn't as strong as it was last year and can be stopped, both with turnovers and in the halfcourt set. Sometimes Towson's offense gets stagnant with a lot of one-on-one/isolation action, which suits us well. And while their frontcourt is a great strength, I don't think they've faced a big man quite as good as Cacok this year. And meanwhile, Flemmings will cause mismatches as usual.
The Pick: UNCW 78, Towson 75
Hofstra @ Delaware (2:00)
Definitely an intriguing matchup, as Delaware (under new coach Martin Ingelsby) has shown steady improvement, culminating in a nice win over Iona on Wednesday. However, I just don't think they have the firepower to take down Hofstra in their opener, even at home. And they have no answer inside for Rokas Gustys.
The Pick: Hofstra 82, Delaware 73
W&M @ Northeastern (2:00)
The two most veteran CAA coaches face off in this one, and while the Tribe picked up a big win over ODU on Thursday night, their first big non-conference win of the season, Northeastern has several such quality OOC wins under their belts. With T.J. Williams putting up monstrous numbers and a big edge in the frountcourt, the Huskies should hold serve at home.
The Pick: Northeastern 80, William & Mary 74
Drexel @ JMU (2:00)
Two new coaches, two programs heading in opposite directions. Zach Spiker has taken Bruiser Flint's plodding, slow-paced system and shifted into a fast-paced scheme and found success overnight. After winning 6 games all of last season, Drexel has already won 6 heading into league play, and is averaging 13 more points per game than they did last year. Rodney Williams fits this new scheme very well, as he has the speed to run the floor and the size to finish a lot of easy buckets. JMU, meanwhile, is playing historically bad basketball under Lou Rowe, ranked at or near dead last in the NCAA in a multitude of statistical categories. This is an easy one.
The Pick: Drexel 77, JMU 62
Charleston @ Elon (2:00)
The last time we heard from Elon (before they beat a non-DI foe), they had participated in a game that got Duke's Grayson Allen suspended indefinitely for intentionally tripping Phoenix guard Steven Santa Ana. Now they hit the floor at home against a very tough Charleston squad.
Elon likes to push pace whereas Charleston is very content to keep games low-scoring and play lockdown defense, holding opponents to just 61.2 points per game so far this year. Something has to give, and that won't be Charleston. The Phoenix should be stifled despite their many three-point shooting weapons, as Charleston will ensure that those shooters have a hand in their face at every turn with tough man-to-man defense. Meanwhile, the Cougars are capable of scoring, but can be deemed more "efficient" than "explosive". That will do just fine. Last year's games between the two teams were very close, with Elon and Charleston splitting. However, the Cougars are better than they were last year, while Elon is about the same. I like Charleston in this one.
The Pick: Charleston 68, Elon 59