There’s been a lot of doom and gloom about VCU this season. The Rams are suffering from a “Final Four hangover” if you listen to the typical pundit, so of course they’re 9-3 (1-0 in the CAA) and are ranked 48th in Pomeroy. Nope, Shaka Smart has his team right where he wants them as they enter conference play. Also, the CAA is down this season. It’s a one-bid league probably. Thus, who finishes first in conference play, which starts back up January 2, is even more important.
Like I did for the other conferences in this series I used current Pomeroy ratings to simulated the season 10,000 times. VCU won the CAA title outright 52.4% of the time. Including ties the Rams were in first place 70.4% of the time. Don’t worry about Smart, he’ll be fine. Also interesting is that VCU was one of just two teams to ever go undefeated during a simulated season. The Rams did it 150 times in 10,000 sims (1.5%) and Georgia State did it seven times. Considering there are six teams that already have a one-game jump on the quest for perfection it’s amazing that none of the other four even did it even once.
On the other side of the ledger are William & Mary and Towson. The Tigers are in trouble. At 0-12 this season and facing a conference schedule in which every team besides the Tribe are noticeably superior a winless season is certainly a possibility. That exact scenario occurred 2,783 times during the 10,000 trials. That’s a whopping 27.8% of the time and it means Pat Skerry definitely has his work cut out for him. Towson desperately needs to beat W&M on January 11 at home in order to avoid the winless season. The Tribe meanwhile finished winless just seven times.
What else you’ll see in this table is a lot of parity. Ten teams tied for the conference title at least once. Because the middle of the CAA from George Mason (101 in Pomeroy) to Northeastern (210) is over such a small range anyone can win on a given night. It should make for a thrilling conference season and lead to some odd results, like last season when Hofstra finished 14-4 while ranked 135th.
Here’s the full table: