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Hofstra falls, but might not be done

Charles Jenkins of Hofstra celebrates a basket against

Charles Jenkins of Hofstra celebrates a basket against William & Mary. (Feb. 15, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Hofstra’s 77-69 loss to Old Dominion in a CAA semifinal on Sunday didn’t necessarily end their season. But it certainly made things tougher.

Charles Jenkins finished with 16 points, while Greg Washington and David Imes had 11 points each. Mike Moore had 12 points and Brad Kelleher added 10.

The Pride (21-11) had a strong regular season, which included a second-place finish in the CAA. The strength of the CAA lies in its top four teams, led by George Mason and Old Dominion.

Both of those teams have strong enough resumes that could warrant at-large selection. There is a catch to that, however. George Mason was beaten by VCU in the other CAA semifinal on Sunday. If VCU manages to trip up Old Dominion in the final, which is a very real possibility, it could leave Hofstra on the outside looking in of an NIT bid.

If the tournament selection committee deems the CAA worthy of two bids, VCU winning the championship likely means either George Mason or Old Dominion will be left out of the NCAA. The perfect scenario for Pride fans, other than Hofstra winning, would’ve been Old Dominion beating George Mason in the final.

George Mason has the stronger RPI (23) and is currently ranked in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Most believe the Colonials would’ve locked up an at-large berth with an appearance in the CAA final.

Whichever team gets the snub from the NCAA will surely get an NIT bid. Does that mean the CAA get two NIT bids? Certainly. The CAA is the 10th-rated league in the RPI out of 31 conferences. Hofstra has certainly made a case for a bid based on their strong regular season.

But there is one small hiccup here. VCU. If the Rams lose in the final, they could easily snare an NIT bid. With wins over UCLA, Wichita State and Hofstra, VCU (23-10) has just as strong a case as Hofstra.

There are only 40 teams in the NIT field. Conference regular-season champions who don’t win their conference tournaments and don’t get an NCAA Tournament at-large bid, get an automatic berth in the NIT.

We won’t get a clear picture until later this week, so Hofstra will have to play the waiting game. No matter how things turned out, Charles Jenkins and the rest of the squad can rest assured that the committees won’t have an easy decision.
 

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