Hofstra Heads Into CAA Tournament with High Expectations
The Hofstra Pride men’s basketball team had a historic season, winning the regular season Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) title outright for the first time, they were tied atop the conference in 2015-16. The Pride also boasted the third longest winning streak in program history and second longest since the team joined Division I at 16 games. Finishing 25-6, going 15-3 in conference, the team has been a popular choice to make its fifth appearance in the NCAA tournament but they will have to get through the CAA first.
Of the Pride’s three in conference losses, two were to teams that will be playing for a chance at the quarterfinals. Tenth-seeded UNCW is squaring off with Elon on the other side of the bracket while the eight seed, James Madison, is facing Towson for the right to play Hofstra. The Pride’s loss to the Dukes came in overtime on Senior Day and the team’s final home game of the season. The Pride should be motivated to avenge that loss, still fresh in their minds should James Madison get there.
Hofstra also needs to be wary of Northeastern and the College of Charleston, the two and three seeds respectively. Northeastern broke the Pride’s win streak on February 5 and was the only team that really handled Hofstra for two full halves. Charleston, last season’s CAA champs, is the home team and will have the crowd behind them every night. While Hofstra wouldn’t play either until the championship, both have a very real chance to beat a full strength Pride team.
The Pride are an offensive team, leading the conference in all offensive shooting categories and scoring. Despite this, the team is middle of the pack in terms of assists and rebounding. The Pride will need to play a more team game, move the ball, set each other up and get stronger on the glass. When the double teams come on CAA Player of the Year Justin Wright-Foreman, there will be other options, it’s up to the Pride to find them.
As another exciting CAA tournament begins, the Hofstra Pride will look to punch their ticket to the big dance. The top seed in the conference will have some challenges to overcome but if they are the most talented team in the tournament and if they play to their abilities, we will see the Hofstra Pride in March Madness.