Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball home attendance averages:
1. James Madison 3,808
2. UNC-Wilmington 3,303
3. College of Charleston 3,222
4. William & Mary 2,642
5. Towson 2,201
6. Delaware 2,114
7. Drexel 1,885
8. Hofstra 1,506
9. Northeastern 1,332
By The Numbers
Though College of Charleston is only three basketball games into its much-anticipated Colonial Athletic Association era, nuggets of knowledge have been mined.
Hey, wow: The Cougars, 2-1 in the CAA and likely to get healthier, can win this thing.
Thoroughly insane: Sunday’s televised home game against 2-0 Towson is set for 3:30 p.m. — just after kickoff at potentially one of the greatest AFC championship games in world history — because of the CAA’s contract with NBC Sports Network.
The Cougars’ first CAA road trip, to New York and Boston, was sans sightseeing. But the team played mostly well last week in a 75-71 loss at Hofstra and 58-49 win at Northeastern.
“Not bad. Really cold,” junior Adjehi Baru said.
College of Charleston depth has been apparent over the last four games, including a win over James Madison in the CAA opener. The Cougars had a different leading scorer in each game, all played without redshirt freshman Canyon Barry, who led the team in scoring the first three games but is out at least another week with an injured finger on his shooting hand.
“I think that shows a lot about your personnel, especially with the shuffling that we’ve had to do,” senior Willis Hall said. “We’ve had guys like Nori Johnson step up. Anthony Stitt when we played JMU hit five 3s, which was his career-high. So we’ve had a lot of different guys step up to take those kind of roles and to help us day-in and day-out.”
Tom Brady vs. loyalty
The fans are going to have to step up Sunday as the NBC Sports Network programming department cuts into the homecourt advantage on Meeting Street.
It’s a test of Cougar zealotry and DVR reliability.
Or maybe you just spent the last decade in a cave on Guam and don’t care much for Brady vs. Manning with the Super Bowl on the line.
Of course, there’s always smart phone viewing, and attention divided between Cougar fastbreaks and Denver drives.
“Welker … On the reverse …”
In all of Division I college basketball, 14 games are scheduled for Sunday. Only one other game is set to start between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., Bucknell at Army (3 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network, also evidently starved for live programming).
So why come to TD Arena?
“They should come have fun here,” Baru said.
‘Parity top to bottom’
Or look at it this way: If the Cougars can hurdle this bit of bad network scheduling luck, the homecourt disadvantages and advantages cut both ways. Average CAA home attendance (2,428) tops the Southern Conference average (1,718), but that doesn’t mean the Cougars will face many intimidating crowds on the road. The College of Charleston (3,222) is third in the CAA in home attendance behind James Madison (3,808) and UNC-Wilmington (3,303).
Delaware, currently atop the CAA at 3-0, plays at TD Arena in the regular-season finale on March 1.
Those who said the CAA would be a tougher league are right. The CAA is No. 16 in USA Today’s Sagarin ranking for conferences, the SoCon No. 29.
It’s a jumbled conference race with no clear favorite, no true doormat.
“We’ll be in every game,” College of Charleston coach Doug Wojcik said. “We can win every game, we can lose every game. I just think the parity top to bottom is very even. It will be interesting to see how it all comes out.”
Sunday against Towson is a big hurdle.
If the Cougars can just get past alternate AFC Championship Game programming, they’re on their way.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff
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