One year after the BR-33 Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) regular season title was basically a 2-team race between Cabrini and Gwynedd Mercy, things were a little more interesting in 2014-15. Although the Cavaliers managed to capture another regular season crown with a 13-5 CSAC mark, they were one of six CSAC teams that reached 10-plus wins after only three teams did the same in 2013-14.
It has certainly been an intriguing season, one loaded with fantastic finishes and mind-boggling individual performances. As we head toward the CSAC tourney, let’s take a look back at the year with a handful of interesting, potentially season-defining figures.
The number comes with a question mark because it is not yet realized, and remains very much up in the air. Will Cabrini’s Aaron Walton-Moss capture his second NABC Division-III Player of the Year honor?
The numbers suggest the do-it-all senior guard deserves serious consideration, but a drop in wins for the BR-122 Cavaliers and slight reduction in a few statistical categories could hurt his case. Unless they win the CSAC tournament and two games in the NCAA tournament, this will be the first season they failed to reach 20 wins since 2007-08. The ship has already sailed on matching their 26-2 mark from a season ago.
However, Walton-Moss does lead the nation in assists with 8.6 per game and bumped up his blocked shots, steals and rebounds. He also managed to record a whopping eight triple-doubles this season.
BR-290 Centenary jumped from the CSAC cellar last season to contention in 2014-15, but how did it happen? The Cyclones’ numbers are not shocking. They haven’t made any major statistical improvements, with similar (or even worse) numbers in almost every category. Yet, 2nd-year coach Tim Fusina’s team added five more conference-wins and seven more wins overall compared to a year ago.
The biggest issue might be losing streaks. They had five streaks of 2+ consecutive losses last season, totaling 17 of their 18 overall losses. Three mini 2-game streaks and one modest 3-game side sandwiched the ugly 8-game stretch from early December through late January in which they did not win a single game.
This season there have been 3 losing streaks, but only of two, two, and three games. They still have still significant room to improveme, but streaks can destroy developing teams and they’ve managed to avoid them.
The CSAC has three 1st-year head coaches in Tim McDonald (Cabrini), Jason O’Connell (Cairn) and Joel Nietz (Baptist Bible). After removing McDonald’s 16 victories for regular season conference champion Cabrini, the two other rookie coaches combined for only 5 wins.
Cairn and Baptist Bible averaged fewer than 120 points per game combined, shot around 40 percent from the field and struggled for consistency from beyond the arc. It is wildly unfair write an evaluation a coach after one season, or even a few seasons, but that doesn’t mean the sting of a 20-loss season is any easier to handle.
It will definitely be an interesting offseason for both O’Connell and Nietz as they build their programs toward CSAC contention.
Aside from Centenary, a team that moved up from ninth place last year to third this year, the 2014-15 standings look very similar to the final standings from last year. The other nine teams combined to move up or down only 10 total spots from last year’s final regular season slot.
Cabrini and BR-314 Marywood both remained steady while Neumann, Rosemont, Immaculata and Cairn only shifted one spot. Keystone and Baptist both fell down two spots. Although college basketball routinely sees consistency in standings and repeat conference champs, this was a shockingly small amount of movement for a 10-team league.
After topping 100 points only once in their first 19 games, Cabrini hit the century mark five times in their final six games, including four games with 104 points.
Their offensive outburst fueled a 7-game winning streak, moving the Cavaliers from a 6-5 CSAC mark to 13-5, a record good enough to earn the regular season title and a bye into the CSAC semifinals. Cabrini finished the regular season as the highest scoring team in the CSAC by a wide margin (87.1 points per game).