If it didn’t begin Saturday, it does tonight. What’s that? The official CAA Season Shaper Stretch.
Mason hosts VCU tonight on ESPNU at 7:00. It is a tale of two teams teetering: VCU has won eight of nine, with each win being more impressive than the last. The Rams are creeping towards a top two or three spot. Mason, meanwhile, has dropped two straight and might be eyeballing a Friday game in March (and not the really good one in mid-March).
That said, Mason is at home, where they’ve won 17 straight CAA contests. Jim Larranaga’s words are ringing loudly in my head. He just doesn’t seem happy. In previous seasons, even in those moments when he’s been bothered by his team but needed to fake happiness he mustered a smile. This year he sounds plum worn out.
We’re going to find out some things tonight–VCU is rolling but away from home; Mason reeling but at home. We’ve gotten past the hide-and-seek part of the schedule. If VCU can roll Mason, look out. If Mason drills VCU, we now know nothing. Again.
Ken Pomeroy likes VCU 76-68 and gives the Rams a 78% chance of winning. Me too, and I like that score. VCU is brimming with confidence, and they are one of those teams that needs confidence to be successful.
The next eight days are going to be fun to watch unfold for the top six teams.
After tonight, Mason (10-3) is at ODU (10-3) on Saturday and hosts The Pugs (8-5) next Tuesday. VCU (9-4) travels to Harrisonburg (3-10) and hosts Drexel (9-4).
Old Dominion is at JMU, hosts Mason, then Towson (3-10). Northeastern hosts Ga State (4-9), travels to The Pugs (8-5), then to Trask (3-10).
Drexel is at Hofstra (5-8), hosts Delaware (3-10 but beat Drexel), and at VCU. And W&M hosts Delaware, hosts NU, and travels to Mason.
The draw, toughest to easiest: Mason, Drexel, VCU, W&M, Northeastern, and Old Dominion. We’re going to head into Bracketbusters with some clarity for the final two conference games prior to Richmond.
Shapely, I’d say.