Tomorrow begins one of the most unusual CAA Tournaments in conference history. As a result of defections and academic struggles, four of the league's 11 teams didn't make the trip to Richmond (ODU, Georgia State, Towson, and UNCW), leaving a somewhat-less-than-magnificent-seven to vie for the NCAA Tournament autobid.
Sage observers in the Community of Gheorghe have long held that abbreviated tournament offers our Tribe their best chance in years to break the Curse of Bill Chambers and advance to dance, if only based on the odds. And while W&M's 7-11 CAA record (13-16 overall) doesn't necessarily presage a championship run, some of the underlying fundamentals indicate that it's at least a possibility.
The Wrens enter the tournament winners of 4 of their last 6 games, and boast the CAA's best shooting percentage (.467), second-best three-point shooting percentage (.374), and have made more three-pointers than any team in the tournament. W&M also has a positive rebounding margin for the first time in years, and leads the CAA in assists/game - they've shared the ball extremely well over the season's last third. Combined, these stats tell the story of a team that's capable of getting hot for three nights and shooting their way to Dayton.
After they blew the JMU game, Tony Shaver hit on the season's key, saying "We’ve got to have somebody take charge — somebody slap the floor, slap each other." In other words, this Tribe team needs some redass. They've got a bunch of great kids - players who we should all be proud to have represent our alma mater - but they don't have any assholes.
Holding out for an asshole doesn't make for a great lyric, but unless one shows up against JMU in Richmond tomorrow at 8:30 pm, it may well be 'wait til' next year' time again in Williamsburg.