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Date published: 2/28/2007
By JIM McCONNELL
As Selection Sunday draws closer, coaches and conference commissioners are notorious for using statistics to bolster their case for at-large bids into the NCAA tournament.
The Colonial Athletic Association is no different.
During this week's coaches teleconference, the most popular topic was whether or not the CAA should receive extra credit from the NCAA selection committee because of the success its top four teams enjoyed away from home this season.
"To win on the road at any level is a significant accomplishment," CAA commissioner Tom Yeager said yesterday. "When you look at the battleground for at-larges, which is RPI 30 through 60, some of our teams' numbers really jump out at you."
The CAA's four dominant squads--Drexel (13-4), Virginia Commonwealth (11-2), Hofstra (10-6) and Old Dominion (8-5)--combined for a 42-17 road record, a winning percentage of .712.
Those statistics take on more weight when you consider that most of the major conference "bubble" teams play far fewer than half of their games on an opponent's home floor.
In the ACC, for example, Florida State and Miami both have played the most road games (11). N.C. State, Duke and Virginia have played the fewest (8).
In the Big East, Georgetown, DePaul and Villanova lead the way with 12 road contests. Providence and Notre Dame, both of which are being considered for at-large bids, have gone on the road just seven times apiece.
"The only way that's going to change is if the [selection] committee punishes BCS schools for playing so many home games and rewards mid-majors for being out on the road battling all year," Hofstra coach Tom Pecora said.
Third time's a charm?
There's an old adage in sports that says it's difficult to beat the same team three times in one season. Three CAA teams sure hope it's true.
Twelfth-seeded Delaware, No. 11 James Madison and No. 9 Georgia State all lost twice by significant margins to the teams they'll face in the first round of the conference tournament Friday at the Richmond Coliseum.
Northeastern clipped the Blue Hens by nine points in each of their regular-season meetings. George Mason crushed the Dukes by 21 and 18. William & Mary dumped the Panthers by 14, then by 16.