VCU ready to rip through CAA, but will it lead to the NCAAs?

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Guess who’s poised to dominate the CAA this season? Hint: It’s not George Mason, who’s regressed under Paul Hewitt.

Yep, it’s VCU.

Turns out Shaka Smart’s team – despite losing four starters from last year’s Final Four team – is still dangerous thanks to its aggressive defense, the development of point guard Darius Theus and the superb play of senior Brad Burgess. (Also doesn’t hurt that Smart’s a helluva good coach.)

The Rams are 9-3, but have won six straight, all by double digits. They had some early stumbles against Seton Hall and Georgia Tech, then dropped a close game at Alabama, but beyond those, they’ve emerged as the class of the league.

And it may not be close.

They’re projected to win 14 CAA games and are overwhelming favorites to claim the regular-season title. By multiple sites.

In fact, if not for the out-of-nowhere surprise season of Georgia State – holy Lefty Drisell, check out that record! – it’d probably be a runaway. Maybe George Mason could figure things out and defend its crown, but I’m doubtful. Not with that disjointed offense. (Poor Ryan Pearson.)

But when March rolls around and the Rams are prepping for the CAA tourney, will it be a lose-or-miss-the-Big-Dance event? It’s looking that way.

VCU’s 73rd in RPI and figures to drop when CAA play rolls around. If they beat Akron, Georgia State and George Mason, those could go down as top-100 wins. That’s it. Perhaps they’ll get some credit if they do dominate the CAA, but that’s asking a lot.

But hey, why worry about Shaka’s squad in March, especially in a tournament setting? That’s so 2010.

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VIDEO: UNLV’s Derrick Jones with more ridiculous dunks

Kelly Kline
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UNLV freshman Derrick Jones is probably the best dunker in college basketball and he took flight a few times on Tuesday afternoon at the Maui Invitational.

The Runnin’ Rebels trailed host school Chaminade at the half before rallying for a win and Jones had a couple of highlight-reel plays in the win.

VIDEO: UMass Lowell game delayed by shattered backboard

Pat Duquette
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UMass Lowell’s game with Wheelock College was delayed for a little over an hour on Tuesday afternoon after a dunk attempt from Dontavius Smith broke the backboard.

The game resumed and UMass Lowell won 104-76. Here’s the video of Smith shattering the glass after he took flight. Smith finished the game with 14 points.