I know, its been a week since I posted something. I have to start getting back into my regular routine. That being said, first I want to give props to my friend Tony Bozzella's Lady Gaels. They are tied for first in the MAAC conference with a 7-0 record after winning their sixth game in a row, a 66-52 win at home over Fairfield last night. Anna McClean led the Gaels with 14 points, while Laurie DeFalco and Tiara Headen each had 13. The Gaels shot 46 percent from the field and were without their leading scorer, Martina Weber. I believe Weber and Jessica Anger were both given the night off to rest up for their game against fellow conference leader Marist in Poughkeepsie on Sunday. Marist won the MAAC conference title last year, defeating Iona by one point in the semifinals.
Ok, now on to around the mid majors. There are some interesting developments going on in some of the mid major conferences.
America East- The last two America East champions, Vermont (12-6, 4-1 in America East) and Albany (11-7, 4-2 America East), are fighting it out for first place in the America East. The Catamounts slipped up at home, suffering their first loss in conference on Thursday to Maine 69-64 after defeating Albany 75-66 last week. Vermont now goes on a three game road trip starting at Binghamton tomorrow. Albany comes off a win over Stony Brook 66-61 and faces Hartford at home tomorrow before going on their own 2 game road trip.
CAA - Its been a wild past week for the CAA. Last Saturday, after possibly playing its best basketball of the season with wins over ODU and Drexel earlier in the week, Hofstra (13-5, 6-1 CAA) went up to Northeastern (5-13, 3-4 CAA) and got spanked by the home town Huskies 84-74 as Northeastern ran rings around the Pride. I was at Hofstra as the Pride bounced back with a 79-74 win over Towson (2-5, 8-10) Thursday night. Loren Stokes and Antoine Agudio combined for 51 points to counteract Gary Neal's 31 points. Gary Neal is a legitimate NBA player but Towson does not play good defense at all. Definitely the biggest disappointment to me in the CAA. They should be better than they are.
Perhaps the overtime slugfest in Philly took a lot out of both teams as Drexel (13-4,5-2 CAA) was absolutely crushed by Old Dominion (13-5,5-2 CAA) 84-57. The Monarchs were up by as much as 35 points in that game. ODU then went out and celebrated that game by possibly playing their worst game of the year, allowing James Madison (5-12, 2-5 CAA) to go on a 16-0 second half run and lost to the Dukes 72-65.
George Mason is making a run (10-7, 4-3 CAA), winning its fourth in a row in the CAA, a 76-63 win at over now struggling William and Mary (10-7,3-4 CAA) 76-63. The Patriots gained revenge on the Tribe for an early season loss at home. But the best team in the CAA is VCU (14-3, 7-0 CAA) who held on at home to down UNC Wilmington (4-12,1-6 CAA) 74-65. The Rams though face their first true tough conference test today at home vs. ODU. VCU has yet to face any of the other top five teams in conference yet.
In the Mid American, two teams standout, Ohio and Akron. They are both tied for first in the East Division with 3-1 records. Akron has beaten Oral Roberts (slayers of Kansas) and barely lost at Nevada. Ohio has knocked off Marist, St Joe's, Cincinatti, and Rhode Island (in first place in the A10). Ohio has the edge having defeated Akron 77-72 on January 6th. Look out for Toledo in the West Divsion. Though only 8-8 overall, the Mudhens are first in the West at 4-0 and have played a very tough non conference schedule having lost relatively close games to Missouri State,Drexel, Iowa, Vanderbilt and Kansas and has a win over VCU.
in the Missouri Valley, I have to rethink my earlier posting about four teams making it from the MVC. After Wichita State's "shocking" loss to last place Illinois State (yes, that was a pun at their team name the Shockers), the Shockers may have had the final nail put in their at large bid coffin. At 12-7 overall and 3-5 in conference, for Wichita State to really make the tournament, they either must run the table in the MVC (no easy feat at all) or they must win the MVC tournament. Meanwhile, the other teams in the MVC keep beating each other. Creighton (12-6 overall) is now first in conference at 6-2 after knocking off Bradley (13-7,4-4 MVC) 65-54. Northern Iowa (14-4 overall) is now 5-2 in conference after going on the road and impressively defeating Missouri State (14-4, 5-3 MVC) 75-65. Southern Illinois (14-5, 5-3 MVC) had their own slip up, losing at Evansville 75-68. And Indiana State (11-6, 4-3 MVC), only one of two teams to beat Butler, slipped up as well, losing to Drake 74-68. It doesn't get any easier this weekend for the top teams in the MVC as Southern Illinois travels to Creighton, Indiana State travels to Northern Iowa, Wichita State goes to Bradley, and Missouri State travels to Evansville.
Finally, the Southern Conference gets no love, but it has two really good teams in it, Davidson (16-3, 7-0 Southern) and Applachian State (13-5, 5-2 Southern). Davidson is in first place in the conference's South Divison and has defeated the likes Charlotte, Ohio, and Arizona State. Applachian State is actually only second in the North Divison after losing to UNC Greensboro but has defeated Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth and Central Florida. We get to see who the better team is today when Applachian State travels to Davidson.