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Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Odds and Preview

John Hyslop

by John Hyslop in College Basketball

Updated Mar 4, 2021 · 10:41 AM PST

  • The 2021 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament begins on March 6th
  • The championship game will be at 7:00 pm ET on Tuesday, March 9th, at the Atlantic Union Bank Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Read on to find out all the trends, odds, picks, and best bets for the 2021 CAA Tournament

Over the past five Colonial Athletic Association Tournaments, the #1 seed has won three times while the #2 seed has taken the other two. A different school has won in each of the past four tournaments.

The Northeastern Huskies have played in each of the last three championship games. They lost last season to Hofstra, whom they beat for the conference championship the year before. Both teams have a first-round bye in this year’s tournament but it’s James Madison with the number-one overall seed.

All tournament games will be played at the Atlantic Union Bank Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia, on March 6th, 7th, and 8th, with the championship game on Tuesday, March 9th.

2021 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Odds

Team Odds
James Madison (1) +210
Drexel (6) +275
Northeastern (2) +400
Hofstra (4) +500
College of Charleston (3) +900
Delaware (5) +1100
NC-Wilmington (10) +1400
Elon (8) +1800
Towson (9) +2500
William & Mary (7) +5000

Odds as of March 4.ย 

The winner will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but will inevitably be a longshot in the March Madness odds.

Top Heavy Conference

The Colonial Athletic Association Conference was a fairly top-heavy conference this season with three teams winning eight games. With all of the postponements and cancellations, the standings aren’t the be-all-end-all, but the conference boils down to two schools, James Madison and Northeastern.

With the games being played in James Madison’s building, they have an advantage but Northeastern can’t be discounted.

Aside from playing in each of the last three conference championship games, the Huskies are flying under the radar in this tournament. They only lost twice in conference, once to James Madison and once to Towson. The Huskies have a much tougher strength of schedule rating than anyone in the field due to playing West Virginia, North Carolina and Syracuse.

Watch Out For Drexel

One team outside of the top four that could make some noise is the Drexel Dragons. Even though they only played three games in the month of February, those games were against the top seed, James Madison, and fourth seeded Hofstra. They went 2-1 in those games including an 84-78 win over James Madison in their final regular-season game.

In conference-only play, Drexel was the top offense in terms of efficiency in the regular season. They had five different players average double digit points for the year. Three of those players eclipsed the 80% mark from the free-throw line which will be useful in a tournament setting such as this. If any team from the “best of the rest” group can win this tournament, it’s Drexel.

The Pick

The old saying “defense wins championships” is still as true today as it ever was at any point in the past. As far as Colonial Athletic Association teams, the Northeastern Huskies are the best of the bunch. They ranked 112th in the entire country (adjusted for opponent) and that defense led them to seven straight conference wins in January before finally losing to James Madison 79-72 on January 24th. Covid-19 postponements/cancelations littered their schedule after the James Madison game, eight in total, but the statement was made. They are the team to beat in this conference.

The path to the championship game is one that favors Northeastern. They haven’t played February 17th but their first game will be against with William & Mary or UNC Wilmington who figure to be pushovers. Their first real test would come against Drexel in the semi-finals but that’s if Drexel can get by College of Charleston. The Dragons may be a dark horse in this tournament but they lost twice to the Cougars in the regular-season. There’s no guarantee they get out of that game and even if they do, Northeastern has the defense to stymie them.

The pedigree lies with Northeastern as does the defense and the path to the title game. They are a good bet to make it out of this tournament and into the Big Dance.

The pick: Northeastern Huskies (+400)ย 

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