CAA: Quarters Wrap, Semis Preview

By David Scott - March 04, 2007

RICHMOND - Good afternoon from the CAA Tournament and welcome to semifinals Sunday where the 3 p.m. game will feature No. 1 seed VCU and No. 4 seed Drexel. The 5:30 p.m. game will pit No. 2 seed ODU against No. 6 seed George Mason. Winners meet Monday night at 7 p.m. for the 2007 title.

A couple of leftovers from Saturday night before we head over to the arena in an hour or so to begin the on-site live-blog portion of our CAA programming:

. . . Hang Time is staying at the same hotel (the incredibly reasonably priced Marriott Richmond) as George Mason and its loyal supporters. Upon our return from the Coliseum a little after 11 p.m. on Saturday we were treated to a wonderful lobby scene as, entering from a side door at the rear of the foyer was Mason coach Jim Larranaga, who received a rousing ovation from the 100 or so members of Mason Nation. There was clapping, hooting, hugging and hollering. Larranaga was followed closely by his team, who then received a similar ovation.

I know I'm getting a little caught up in the Mason story - so, shoot me! - but it really does have a great feel to it. This team did so much last year for these fans and to have even one more night of that magic was very special.

. . .We then shared the elevator with Mason juniors Folarin Campbell and Darryl Monroe. Campbell had been in the post-game interview room and he was smiling a devilish grin. The grin was still there in the ride up to our respective floors. "I'm just so happy," Campbell said in the 'vator, echoing what he had said in the presser: "I'm just feeling so confident about the way this team approached the game tonight. There's been times when we've started off bad against top teams. (But this weekend) we're just coming out with so much confidence, I'm just happy for us. Hopefully we can continue it (Sunday)."

. . . A bit of Mason overload, but this story is too good to ignore. During Friday's night's Patriots win over James Madison, freshman Louis Birdsong had to be removed from the game beacuse of blood on his jersey. When he got to the sideline, team trainer Debi Corbatto told Birdsong to take off his jersey. "Louis is just a lovable kid," explained Larranaga, the lovable coach. "He came out and when Debi told him that, he put his arms up [waiting for Corbatto to take the top off for him].

"She said, 'I'm not your mother, take it off yourself!.' He's just a very innocnet and loving kid. As he matures he gives us another weapon and another offesnive rebounder." Birdsong was key off the bench with four points and four rebounds in 18 minutes.

. . . Drexel and VCU have met int he semifinals of the CAA once before (2003) and the Dragons won 62-60. Today's game is a re-match of the earlier season VCU win, in a game that Drexel's Frank Elegar had to sit out, serving a one game suspension.

. . .ODU leads the Mason series 30-12, overall. ODU won both games this season, including a 10-point OT win and a two point win.

. . . Okay, time to freshen up and scoot next door to the Coliseum. We'll be back with you around 2:15 or 2:30. Tell your friends and stock up on the popcorn.

Posted by David Scott at 12:40 PM on March 04, 2007

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