2023 Charleston vs UNC Wilmington - Men's

UNCW Vs. Charleston Takeaways: Could CAA Be Two-Bid League In NCAA Tourney?

UNCW Vs. Charleston Takeaways: Could CAA Be Two-Bid League In NCAA Tourney?

College of Charleston basketball picks up a big win over UNC Wilmington. Who could end the Cougars' winning streak?

Jan 12, 2023 by FloHoops Staff
Highlights Of Charleston's Run To The Top 25

The College of Charleston basketball team (17-1 overall, 5-0 in CAA) is off to the best start in Colonial Athletic Association history with a 17-1 record and owns the longest active winning streak in the nation at 16 games. 

But all that almost didn’t happen when UNC Wilmington (14-4, 4-1), who entered Wednesday with a 13-game winning streak, rallied from an 11-point deficit to take the lead late against the Cougars. However, Ryan Larson’s layup and free throw in the final two minutes gave Charleston the lead for good, and the Cougars escaped Trask Coliseum with a win, 71-69. 

Here Are 5 Takeaways From The Game 

Charleston Coach Pat Kelsey Getting National Coach Of The Year Buzz

In his second season in Charleston, Pat Kelsey, who took Winthrop to the NCAA Tournament three times before coming to Charleston, is gaining some postseason awards momentum. 

CBS Sports college basketball reporter Matt Norlander tweeted after the UNC Wilmington win that Kelsey should be on the National Coach of Year radar.

Kelsey has won more than 200 games in his career and is now 34-16 with the Cougars. 

Ryan Larson Came Up Big in Charleston Vs. UNCW 

Larson struggled from the field for most of the game against UNC Wilmington, finishing the night shooting 3-for-12 and was just 1-for-8 from 3-point range, but the Wofford transfer was the difference late in the game. 

A layup with 1:33 left tied the score and he added two more points at the line to give his team the lead. He finished the night with 13 points, four rebounds and seven assists with no turnovers. 

Along with fellow graduate student and leading scorer Dalton Bolon, Charleston’s backcourt is a big reason the team has won 16 straight games. 

Could The CAA Be A 2-team Bid League In The 2023 NCAA Tournament?

While UNC Wilmington couldn’t snag a massive win over a ranked opponent on Wednesday, the Seahawks will have at least one more chance to beat the Cougars, which could still be ranked when the two teams play on Feb. 8 in Charleston

The CAA has been a one bid-league for most seasons, but there is some history of the league sending multiple teams. 

In 2011, the CAA sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament when VCU, George Mason and Old Dominion all qualified for the BIg Dance. VCU went to the Final Four. 

Last year, Delaware won the CAA Tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Hens beat UNC Wilmington to the CAA title game to get there before losing to No.6 seed Villanova. 

Charleston is ranked 81 at Kenpom.com while UNC Wilmington is No. 110. 

When Could The CofC Basketball Winning Streak End?

Outside the rematch with UNC Wilmington in February, the Cougars end the month hosting Hofstra (11-7 overall, 4-1 in CAA), which is in third-place in the CAA. Hofstra counts the reigning CAA Player of the Year in Aaron Estrada on the roster. The senior guard is averaging 21.1 points per game while shooting a league-best 52.9 percent from the field. 

Here are the remaining January games for Charleston: 

Elon, Jan. 14

William & Mary, Jan. 16

At Monmouth, Jan. 19

At Northeastern, Jan. 21

Hofstra, Jan. 28

Can UNC Wilmington Bounce Back?

The Seahawks host William & Mary (7-10, 2-2) on Jan. 14 then will host Elon (2-15, 0-4) before hitting the road to play Hofstra on Jan. 19 in what could be a pivotal game for both teams' postseason hopes. 

The good news for the Seahawks is they have Trazarien White and Jamarii Thomas. 

Thomas, a sophomore, added 16 points against Charleston, the same amount as White, giving the Seahawks a strong one-two scoring punch.