The Washington Times - February 18, 2009, 10:33PM

What a wonderful game basketball is.

A team can score less than 50 points, start the second half shooting 6-for-27, and barely make half of its free throws (11-for-21), and not only win but improve their place in the conference standings.


So congrats to Mason for winning a blistering 49-48 game tonight. At least it wasn’t Illinois-Penn State.

Of course, Mason’s win and Northeastern’s loss creates a tie for second in the CAA. And while things won’t pick back up until next Wednesday (the entire CAA is in the Bracketbuster event this weekend), it’s worth looking at how the top eight in the league look after tonight:

Team CAA Left
VCU 12-4 @JMU, GSU
Northeastern 11-5 @DREX, ODU
George Mason
11-5 @UNCW, TOW
Drexel 10-6 NU, @W&M
Old Dominion
10-6 W&M, @NU
Hofstra 10-6 @GSU, UNCW
James Madison
9-7 VCU, @UDEL
Georgia State
7-9 @UNCW, TOW

Mason gets two of the teams toward the bottom of the league. Northeastern still has to play two teams seeking a bye.

Of course, it’s an insane and tight league. And just like it’s still possible for Mason to win the league title —- it would need two VCU losses, a Northeastern loss and two victories on its own to make that happen —- it can still finish seventh in the worst-case scenario.

The guess here is Mason winds up with a No. 2 seed. But it’s easy to see how that could change. The Patriots are a pair of made Drexel shots in the closing seconds of games away from being 9-7, tied for sixth and needing a whole lot of help to avoid playing a first-round game.

—- Patrick Stevens