CAA tournament preview: Hofstra goes for conference championship after winning regular season title

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Hofstra basketball
amNewYork/Kyle Sweeting

The Hofstra Pride was robbed of an NCAA tournament appearance in 2020 thanks to COVID, but they’ll get another chance to right that when the Colonial Athletic Association tournament begins on Friday.  Hofstra, who earned the tournament’s No.1 seed, will begin play on Sunday when they face the winner of William & Mary and Elon. 

The Pride has been one of the hottest teams in the country this season, winning their third regular season crown in the last five years and ending the year with 11 straight victories. Now they’ll look to turn that regular season success into their second trip to the NCAA tournament in the last three years. 

“Honestly I believe we’re the best team in the conference,” said Hofstra head coach Speedy Claxton, who was given a multi-year contract extension this week, in an interview with News 12. “When we’re playing Hofstra basketball and doing the right things and we come out and play the right way no team can beat us.” 

Hofstra won the CAA tournament three years ago and booked the school’s first trip to March Madness since 2001. But the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the tournament that season. They enter the conference tourney as one of the favorites, along with No. 2 seed Charleston. 

Hofstra basketball
amNewYork/Kyle Sweeting

The Pride has been dominating in nearly every metric as the season was coming to a close. Hofstra was the best offense in assist-to-turnover ratio, total turnovers and percentage of possessions resulting in turnovers and fast-breaking shooting over the last 10 games.

They also had owned college basketball’s third-best field-goal percentage in that span.

Hofstra owed part of their success to star Aaron Estrada, who picked up his second consecutive CAA Player of the Year award this season. He finished second in the conference and 23rd nationally with 20.3 points per game and sixth in assists at 4.1.

Estrada added 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals and was five points shy of the CAA lead in total points. Hofstra will look to him to continue his offensive production in the tournament as they look to avoid being upset. 

“We don’t feel any pressure,” Estrada told NBC 4. “We’re just going to go out there and play how we been playing. We worked really hard for this and we feel like we deserve this.” 

Fellow Long Island school, Stony Brook will be making its first CAA Tournament appearance this season after making the move to the Colonial from the America East. 

Hofstra Pride vs. Elon/William & Marry

  • Location: Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington, D.C
  • Time: Sunday, March 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Channel: FLOHOOPS 

For more Hofstra basketball coverage, visit amNewYork