William & Mary at North Carolina-Wilmington (Colonial)Trask Coliseum - Wilmington, NC7:00 PM EST
We'll be closely tracking the Rhode Island-Temple
battle on the A-14's second tier, as well as the tough test for Drake at Southern Illinois
, but tonight's G!O!T!N! spotlight falls on two teams from the Colonial that could be considered both "enigmatic" and "mysterious." Both are currently in the No. 3 and No. 4 positions in the league standings behind VCU and Mason, which is nowhere near where anybody thought they'd be at this point. Let's try and figure out why.
William & Mary (13-10, 9-4) is in third place, and no team has benefitted more from the CAA's staggered schedule (necessitated by 18 conference games with 11 opponents). The Tribe has only ventured into the current top two once so far -- a beatdown
by VCU in early December -- and won nine of 10 at the expense of teams like Georgia State, Drexel and Hofstra. That's not to say that any of these wins are cheap, mind you, W&M has clearly differentiated itself from the bottom of the pack we pundits always relegate it to. Not the most imposing team physically (it's last in the CAA in rebounds), but they shoot the 3 well, spread the scoring out and play decent perimeter D.
Then there's UNCW (15-10, 8-5), which has already lost to W&M
in the house of pain that is Kaplan Arena, despite a double-double by Canadian mammoth Vladimir Kuljanin
. The Seahawks have already double their 2006-07 win total of seven, thanks to a senior-laden team with a quartet of final-year double-figure scorers led by 16.0 ppg scorer T.J. Carter
, who wasn't around for last year's 7-22 diaster due to injury. Now, imagine how good this team would be if they played a little defense... the days when UNCW put up a firewall at the timeline are long gone since the Brad Brownell era, and the Seahawks are the worst in the CAA at forcing turnovers. And if you want to get geeky about it, each opponent possession averages 1.023 points allowed, which is among the worst in the country.UNCW 77, CWM 64