This is part 10 of a 32-part series previewing every conference tournament in the country. We'll detail what you need to keep track of in each tournament and the various stakes for each team.
UNC Wilmington 15-3
William & Mary 10-8
James Madison 7-11
4 days, from Friday March 3 to Monday March 6. It's at a "neutral" site in Charleston, but not on Charleston's actual home court.
1) UNC Wilmington vs. 8/9) Hofstra/Delaware
4) William & Mary vs. 5) Elon
3) Towson vs. 6) Northeastern
2) Charleston vs. 7/10) James Madison/Drexel
CAA was RPI 11, sneaking ahead of the MVC and breaking up the traditional "Big 11" as I like to refer to from time to time. A very solid year overall for the conference, but it won't pay off in any at-large bids. UNCW currently sits on RPI 38 and on 5 RPI 51-100 wins. However, 2 are RPI 99 Towson, and another is 96 Bonaventure and another is 70 ETSU. Despite having a solid non-con SoS, they didn't nab a win over a team that's even close to the tourney. Their signature win is @Charleston. That's just not enough, even though every other metric is great. If we're picking mid-majors, I'm probably grabbing teams with better signature wins (see: Illinois St) if I had to choose. And it's a shame. But the current committee emphasis is quality wins over tourney teams, and UNC-W just don't have them.
Charleston is a bubble team of their own (NIT bubble). Traditionally, a league as good as this will have their 2nd place team in legit NIT contention, give or take. They kind of suffer from the same thing UNC-W does, though, although they beat UNCW and also beat Boise. I'm interested to see how the NIT handles them; it could be a bellweather going forward for how the NIT treats mid-majors.
We can pencil in Towson for a postseason bid somewhere. Elon, Bill & Mary are also eligible and likely invites based on overall resume. Northeastern needs one win to be CIT eligible; it's a shame they finished 6th. Won at UConn, won at Vermont (!), won at Michigan St, lost 10 times in the CAA. Dammit.