I come here not to bury the Wrens, but to ignore them.
Not them, per se, but their results to date. And really, their results before the beginning of the CAA season.
Sure, losses to Hampton and High Point are going to be really hard to explain to the Selection Committee come tournament time, and it's unlikely that the NCAA will give W&M any credit for leading at halftime against Wichita State. But the team that's played the first four games for Tony Shaver isn't the team that will take the floor beginning on December 20.
And that's the peg upon which we'll hang our tri-corners.
Brandon Britt did a stupid thing, driving while intoxicated, and the process dictates that he'll serve a deserved 9-game suspension because of it. He returns to the court on December 20 against Goucher (I'd make a snide remark about Goucher, but hell, we lost to High Point.), and will play in the Tribe's final four non-conference games. He'll get his court legs agains West Virginia, Old Dominion, and Western Illinois, in addition to the Gophers (the Goucher Gophers? Why haven't we commented on this previously?).
It's difficult to precisely pinpoint what ails the Tribe in Britt's absence, except to say they've been...off. W&M's been far less efficient on offense - despite averaging 71 points per game, they're only making 32.1% from three-point range - and ineffective generally on defense, giving up 77 points a contest. Marcus Thornton's averaging 20 points per game, as expected, but he's only made 9 of 34 threes. Tim Rusthoven's only grabbing 3.5 rebounds a contest after pulling down double that last season. He's also fouled out twice in four games.
On the bright side, frosh Omar Prewitt's hit the ground running (and gunning), tallying 14 points, 6.8 boards, and 2 steals a game while making nearly 50% of his threes and doing it all coming off the bench. Sophomore Terry Tarpey's filling the glue guy role vacated by Matt Rum extremely well, grabbing 6.5 rebounds and scoring 7.5 points per game.
Production drops off pretty quickly after those four, though, which is perhaps the place where Britt's return means the most. Another penetrating frontcourt weapon spreads the floor for Thornton, and allows Rusthoven room to operate in the paint. Britt also provides a scoring option that diversifies a starting lineup that's relying far too heavily on too few players.
But hell, we're four games in. W&M wasn't ever going to run the table in non-conference play, and nothing's changed about the only thing that matters.
Fun one for Team G:TB (or at least one of us) tomorrow in Piscataway (or wherever the Rutgers Athletic Center is located), as W&M heads north to take on the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers stinks by the standards of the American Athletic Conference. We stink by an entirely different set of standards.
And that's okay.