College Basketball Betting: Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Preview
The Colonial Athletic Association Conference Tournament begins on Saturday, March 7 at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. All 10 teams in the league will participate, with the top six seeds earning first round byes. Drexel vs. UNC Wilmington along with Elon vs. James Madison will get things started in the opening round. The top seed and tourney favorite is Hofstra, sitting at odds of +190 to win it. This is a one-bid league, so every game is “do or die” for each competitor.
Favorite – Hofstra is currently 23-8 (14-4 in conference) and ranked 120th in KenPom. They’ve gotten the job done with a potent offense that has been built around good shooters. They’re tops in the Colonial in three-point shooting shooting at 39.6%, and are 10th in the nation with a free throw shooting of 78.2%. Their weakness on offense has been ball movement. The Pride have a 46.0% A/FGM rate, which is 296th in the nation. But the larger struggles are on defense. Hofstra is dead-last in two-point percentage defense in the Colonial, as they lack a true rim protector in the paint. They have protected the three-point line well (1st in the Colonial) with an opponent 3P% at 30.4%, but that has as much to do with luck than it does with skill.
Hofstra has won nine of its last 10 games, but this is still a vulnerable team. There are realistically five other teams who can win this conference tournament – Northeastern, Towson, Charleston , William & Mary and Delaware. Those teams are all clustered between 143rd and 193rd in KenPom and have CAA tournament odds ranging from +375 to +750.
Darkhorse – In my eyes, Delaware is a true dark horse team in the CAA tournament. No team in the conference outperformed expectations this season more than the Blue Hens. They were picked 9th or 10th by most coaches and media members in the preseason, but the Hens managed to tie for 4th place in the regular season – notching 21 wins overall in the process. What makes Delaware a prime Cinderella, is their ability to shoot from everywhere on the floor. They were 9th in the nation in 2P% at 55.6%, shot 76.4% from the free throw line (29th) and can also shoot it from three (35.3% and 71st in the nation). They’ve had some unbelievable scoring runs down the stretch, so if they get hot, they’re capable of winning three in a row in this tourney. The Blue Hens also knocked off the favorite, Hofstra, on the road this season 73-71. Delaware really dominated that game, winning despite shooting 3-of-20 from three-point arc and getting to the free throw line just 13 times (versus 20 for Hofstra). They will have to first get by Charleston in the Quarterfinals – a team that they lost to twice in the regular season by 12 points and 9 points. But if they get past that game, they’ll have a shot to match up with Hofstra once again.
What to Bet – Fading the favorite, Hofstra, could easily cash a couple of times. They’re defense is nothing special and is even worse when you factor in how fortunate they have been in opponent three-point shooting. Hofstra also doesn’t have much depth, and that could really hurt them playing multiple days in a row. They only play six or seven guys, with the starters accumulating a ton of minutes. And tired legs could take away their number one strength – shooting from the perimeter. Fade the Pride in the CAA Tournament.
Odds to Win Tournament
William & Mary +500
James Madison +7000