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CAA males’s match prediction: This workforce can dethrone Charleston

KONNER METZ
Editor-in-Chief

Delaware comes into postseason play skidding, shedding three of its final 4, most lately a 79-56 smacking on the street at Stony Brook. The Blue Hens have struggled towards the Coastal Athletic Affiliation’s (CAA) prime 5 groups, going a mixed 1-6, the one win coming at Towson in February. A ten-8 convention report is definitely respectable, however Delaware may need an identical destiny it had final yr as a No. 6 seed – advancing to the quarterfinals after which dropping to Towson, 86-60. The Hens will await the winner of No. 11 Elon and No. 14 Hampton, however a possible quarterfinal matchup towards nemesis Hofstra looms giant. Delaware won’t simply must take down one top-tier CAA workforce; it should upset a number of to win the match.

Senior guard Niels Lane (above) can be a key to Delaware’s hopes to take down the highest canine within the convention match. Hannah Paliath/THE REVIEW

Eventually yr’s CAA match, Charleston was one of many hottest mid-major groups within the nation, sporting a 16-2 convention report. Regardless of being the No. 2 seed, Pat Kelsey’s Cougars had been thought-about the workforce to beat. This yr, as defending champions, Charleston is as soon as once more the cream of the crop with the No. 1 seed and a 15-3 CAA mark. Regardless of much less nationwide buzz, this Cougars workforce could be simply as harmful behind arguably the deepest roster within the CAA and top-70 rankings in KenPom adjusted tempo and adjusted offense. Junior guard Reyne Smith is deadly from past the arc and junior ahead Ante Brzovic anchors an inside that’s top-25 nationally in offensive rebounds per recreation.

The one workforce to offer the Cougars main suits this yr was a close-by rival: UNCW. The Seahawks defeated Charleston twice within the common season, making 18 free throws in every contest and grabbing a mixed 26 offensive boards. After a loss in final yr’s title recreation, Head Coach Takayo Siddle and his group are once more a risk; nevertheless, because the No. 4 seed, UNCW probably squares off versus the Cougars within the semifinals this season. Want a motive to imagine in a second straight championship recreation look? Junior ahead Trazarien White (19.6 factors per recreation) and graduate guard Shykeim Phillips (14.0 factors per recreation) shoot 49% and 52% from the sphere, respectively. KJ Jenkins, a graduate switch guard, provides an outdoor taking pictures side to the offense (37% three-point taking pictures on the season).

Drexel has risen to new heights within the CAA in Zach Spiker’s eighth yr as head coach, securing its first 20-win marketing campaign since 2011-2012 and sporting a 13-1 house report. Successful in a neutral-site match environment can be a unique animal, however Drexel followers ought to journey properly with the hype round this yr’s group. Senior ahead Amari Williams is a defensive stalwart and a rim protector who can change momentum in a heartbeat. Sophomore guard and hometown phenom Justin Moore (12.6 factors and three.4 assists per recreation) could be the difference-maker, although. He was injured for the top of the common season earlier than returning to play in final yr’s match. Drexel was bitten by the harm bug – in its 2023 quarterfinal loss, now-senior guard Yame Butler and now-graduate ahead Mate Okros each sustained accidents. If the Dragons can keep away from dangerous luck in D.C., a greater end result could be in retailer.

The always-feisty Hofstra Satisfaction are positive to be a risk in Washington, D.C. below third-year Head Coach Speedy Claxton. Excellent guard play and perimeter taking pictures is all the time a recipe for achievement in March. Stony Brook enters with a proficient guard of its personal, graduate Tyler Stephenson-Moore, who shoots over 40% from past the arc and might get sizzling. In search of a real Cinderella? Northeastern is led by graduate ahead Chris Doherty, who has scored double-digit factors in 15 of his 17 convention appearances this season. Invoice Coen, in his 18th season as head coach, led the Huskies to convention championships in 2015 and 2019. 

My choose: UNCW takes down Charleston for the third time this season within the semifinals, making a wide-open finals recreation by which Moore rises to the event and leads the Drexel Dragons to their first NCAA Match look since 2021.