College of Charleston (14-17) vs. William & Mary (18-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Baltimore Arena (14,000) -- Baltimore, Maryland. Television: CSN-NE, CSS. Home Record: Charleston 9-7, W&M 10-4. Away Record: Charleston 4-8, W&M 8-7. Neutral Record: Charleston 1-2, W&M 0-0. Conference Record: Charleston 6-10, W&M 10-6. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The newest addition to the Colonial Athletic Association gets a taste of tournament time in another league, as the College of Charleston Cougars clash with the William & Mary Tribe during the quarterfinals of the 32nd annual event at Baltimore Arena.
Charleston, formerly of the Southern Conference where it bowed to Davidson in the title game last season, won the tournament over there back in 1999 versus Appalachian State. This year the team was named the sixth seed in this event, after posting a record of 6-10 in league action. Unfortunately, the Cougars dropped back-to-back decisions and three of the last four heading into the postseason.
The third-seeded Tribe, a squad that has a record of just 12-31 in this tourney and has never brought home the trophy, although they did play for the championship in 2010 against Old Dominion, produced a record of 10-6 versus the rest of the CAA in 2013-14. However, like the Cougars, William & Mary closed out the regular season on a sour note with a narrow 70-68 setback to Towson on the road last weekend.
Not surprisingly, with the Cougars just entering the CAA this season, the all- time series between these squads stands at just one game apiece after they split the two regular-season bouts. Charleston posted an 87-54 stomping late last month at home, while the Tribe secured a 74-63 win in January in Williamsburg.
The survivor of this meeting will be right back on the hardwood on Sunday, challenging the winner of the James Madison/Towson matchup for the right to play in the title game on Monday night.
Far from an offensive juggernaut, the Cougars scored just 63.2 ppg against the rest of the CAA this season, but at least that was better than the 62.8 ppg allowed by the squad. Willis Hall played a significant role in the team at least coming out with a positive scoring margin, as he generated 12.5 ppg, not to mention leading the team on the glass with 8.3 rpg as well. However, for someone who averaged more than 34 minutes per game, even by accident Hall should have logged more than just 12 assists in those 16 league outings. Anthony Stitt was responsible for another 10.4 ppg and picked up some of the slack in the passing department with 49 dishes.
Marcus Thornton earned his way on to the All-CAA First Team this year by controlling the offense for the Tribe with his 17.9 ppg in league outings. He shot a decent 44.2 percent from the floor, but was much more impressive out on the perimeter where he connected on 42.7 percent (47-of-110) of his chances. Not only was he the top scorer in conference play for W&M, he also paced the group with 45 assists. Tim Rusthoven, 57.5 percent accurate from the field, accounted for another 11.6 ppg and Brandon Britt pitched in with another 11.4 ppg, even through the latter came off the bench more often than not. Helping to fuel the 73.1 ppg posted by the Tribe was their 40.9 percent efforts out on the perimeter.
The fact that these teams earned a split during the regular season means anything is possible, although with the Cougars being the new kids on the block, they might need some more time in order to get comfortable in the tournament.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: William & Mary 71, College of Charleston 65
03/08 11:53:38 ET