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Colonial Athletic Conference

Basketball Tournament

Predictions and Analysis

3/2/12

The Colonial Athletic Conference College Basketball Tournament gets underway on Friday, March 22nd, at the Richmond Coliseum. Four teams get first round byes. Drexel, VCU, Old Dominion and George Mason can all sit back and watch Fridays games play out. They won't be in action until Saturday.

The two teams to beat will be VCU (25-6) and Drexel (25-5). Whether you look at season to date numbers, the last 5 or 10, or any subset of games in between, these two teams stand out above the rest of the conference and barring an upset, have their sights set on the Big Dance.

In looking for a potential dark horse, as we like to do with these tournaments, we would toss out just about everyone except Old Dominion, George Mason and Delaware. Old Dominion looks to pose the biggest threat. Old Dominion has played at a level recently that is right on par with both VCU and Drexel, though they did lose, at home, in close games, to both teams this month.

Delaware stands out as perhaps a good bet in individual games, rather than as an upset pick for the tournament. They have won their last 8 games and have won 10 of their last 12. In that stretch they are 9-3 against the spread and are also a profitable 16-8 against the spread over the entire season. The only teams hotter, unfortunately for the rest of the conference, are Drexel and VCU, who, by the way, are also profitable against the spread over the entire season as well as down the stretch.

This one isn't rocket science. It looks like VCU and Drexel will square off for the title, with a possibility that Old Dominion could crash the party. If they do, the way the bracket is set up, they will play VCU in the Championship game. Delaware and Old Dominion will likely square off in the 2nd round. That one should be interesting and may be a good spot to back Delaware to cover.

For the record, our model predicts VCU to beat Drexel 58-56 should they meet in the final. If Old Dominion plays VCU, We have VCU beating them as well, also by 2, 60-58. So, yeah, it's that close. As this is being written, there are no odds posted on the tournament, so we can't recommend a futures play. However, Old Dominion looks to have the best chance to win it, if it's not VCU and Drexel.

Here is the tournament schedule:

FRIDAY, MARCH 2 -- FIRST ROUND GAMES
Gm. 1 -- #8 James Madison vs. #9 UNCW -- Noon
Gm. 2 -- #5 Delaware vs. #12 Towson -- 2:30 p.m.
Gm. 3 -- #7 Northeastern vs. #10 William & Mary -- 6:00 p.m.
Gm. 4 -- #6 Georgia State vs. #11 Hofstra -- 8:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, MARCH 3 -- QUARTERFINAL GAMES
Gm. 5 -- #1 Drexel vs. Winner of Game 1 - Noon
Gm. 6 -- #4 Old Dominion vs. Winner of Game 2 -- 2:30 p.m.
Gm. 7 -- #2 VCU vs. Winner of Game 3 -- 6:00 p.m.
Gm. 8 -- #3 George Mason vs. Winner of Game 4 -- 8:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, MARCH 4 -- SEMIFINAL GAMES
Gm. 9 -- Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6 -- 2:00 p.m.
Gm. 10 -- Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 8 -- 4:30 p.m.

MONDAY, MARCH 5 - CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Gm. 11 -- Winner of Game 9 vs. Winner of Game 10 -- 7:00 p.m.

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