Matt Matheny

Report: Elon to officially join Colonial Athletic Association Thursday


With the loss of four institutions the Colonial Athletic Association has some work to do on the realignment front. Apparently the league has found a new member, as it was reported by the Wilmington Star-News that Elon will officially join the CAA on Thursday.

Elon has announced a press conference for 2:00 p.m. EST Thursday afternoon, but has not given any clues as to what the subject matter will be. It is expected that Elon will join the CAA in 2014.

Elon has been a member of the Southern Conference since 2003, and the Phoenix are coming off of their first SoCon North Division title since the 2005-06 season under head coach Matt Matheny.

Elon finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 21 wins and 12 losses, going 13-5 in SoCon play and losing at Canisius in the first round of the Tournament. That game represented Elon’s first postseason appearance as a Division I member.

Elon joins the College of Charleston as schools leaving the SoCon for the CAA, and perennial SoCon power Davidson is leaving the league to join the Atlantic 10.

The question in regards to the CAA: is the league done adding schools? There may be more news to come in the near future as the conference forms a new identity with schools such as VCU and George Mason (both have moved to the A-10) having moved on.

Albany is also considering an invitation from the CAA, but a university spokesman said they are still committed to the America East “at this time.” Their addition would give the CAA 11 members, six in a Baltimore – Boston corridor and five in the Carolinas and Virginia. Ideally, the conference would add one more southern member, creating two divisions for men’s basketball and a 16-team conference schedule. For example, under that scenario, UNCW would play Elon, College of Charleston, James Madison, William & Mary and the TBA Southern School home-and-home, and play the other six teams once, meaning only three trips to the North in a given season.

As for the SoCon, losing Elon is the latest hit for a league that was already in search of options to replace juggernauts Davidson and the College of Charleston. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are leaving the conference to join the Sun Belt Conference in 2014, with their football programs moving up to the FBS level serving as the catalyst for that decision.

While the power conference realignment dominoes may finally be settled for the time being, some mid-major conferences have plenty of work to attend to in the coming months.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.