In the CAA, all the pre-season talk has been all about Virginia Commonwealth led by Larry Sanders, Gerald Lee and Old Dominion and a solid Hofstra team. But the same pre-season talk also predicted William & Mary to come in 11th place, out of the conference's 12 teams. Entering conference play this week, William & Mary was in first place and winners of nine straight games.
The Tribe began the season with two close losses at #14 UConn and at Harvard. In the next nine contests, William & Mary beat the likes of Richmond- the same Richmond team that has been victorious over Mississippi State, Missouri and Florida. The Tribe has also won games in Winston-Salem against the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest and most recently stunning the Maryland Terrapins.
Offensively, William & Mary has a balanced three-headed attack led by Senior Guard David Schneider, Sophomore Small Forward Quinn McDowell and Senior Forward Danny Sumner. Collectively, the trio averages 45.8 points per game with 78 made three-point baskets. Aside from the difficult task of trying to contain one or two of these players, there are the perfect role players like Arkansas transfer, Sean McCurdy and Junior Forward Marcus Kitts.
The CAA is not an easy conference by any means- it currently ranked 12th amongst the NCAA's 33 conferences; the CAA has wins over Georgetown (Old Dominion), Oklahoma (VCU), Nevada (VCU), so running the table on teams like VCU or Old Dominion or Hofstra or even Northeastern will prove to be a challenge. The CAA has more teams in the RPI top-50 than the Mountain West Conference (two), Missouri Valley (one), or the WAC (zero)- all conferences rated higher than the CAA.
William & Mary will need to continue their hot streak into conference play to stay in the NCAA Tournament picture. With their strong out-of-conference wins and their high RPI (seven behind the likes of Duke, West Virginia, Temple, Kansas State, Syracuse and UConn), the William & Mary team is coming together nicely and depending on how the CAA schedule plays out, they are sitting pretty come NCAA Tourny time in March.