Players play, coaches coach, fans get ulcers. Such is the fate of the interested spectator. Ten days ago, with the Wrens in the midst of a seemingly season-unraveling skid, we were guilty of letting our hopes flag. Today, after an improbable three-game winning streak, W&M’s 18-7, 10-5 record has them controlling their own destiny for a first-round CAA Tournament bye. Ah, we of little faith.
Saturday’s home win over CAA-leading Northeastern was the season in microcosm. The Tribe dominated a good team in the early going, building a 12-point halftime edge that became a 40-24 lead with 7 minutes to play. (Holy Crap! We’ve got the #2 RPI in the nation! We beat Wake Forest! We beat Maryland! Holy Crap!) And then Northeastern showed the resilience and talent that made then 12-2 in the league going into the weekend, scoring 9 straight points and wearing W&M down until Chase Allen’s old-fashioned three-point play gave the Huskies a 52-51 lead. (What the fuck? We lost to UNCW? Why can’t David Schneider shoot anymore? We lost to JMU? What the fuck?)
Schneider’s jumper from the top of the key bounced off the back of the iron, but Kendrix Brown corralled the board and hit a fade-away 6-footer off the square to give the Tribe the win. (Holy Crap! We beat Northeastern! We’re a game out of third place! Kendrix Brown! Holy Crap!) W&M is now 8-4 in games decided by three or fewer points – just shy of half of the Tribe’s 25 games have defined nail-biter. This may be, indeed, mean that Tony Shaver’s boys will be a battle-tested, poised bunch come March. However, it also means that W&M fans are more than a little bit gun shy.
JMU’s unlikely win over VCU on Saturday gives the Tribe a leg up on a coveted first-round vacation. And if W&M can snap George Mason’s 18-game home winning streak tomorrow evening, the Wrens would move into a third-place tie (and own the tiebreaker over both Mason and Drexel). W&M closes the season with games against CAA also-rans Towson and UNCW.
And we don’t have the foggiest notion about how they’ll finish. This Tribe team is arguably the most successful in College history, and inarguably the second-most exasperating (how, again, did the 97-98 team lose to American in the first round of the CAA Tourney?). They’re more than capable of beating Mason. And completely susceptible to losses against either Towson or UNCW.
Players play, coaches coach, and we’ll dig our nails into the edge of our seats.