WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The big week has arrived for the UNCW Men’s Basketball team. Starting Sunday, they begin the CAA Tournament looking to defend their crown. It’s now officially March and if they want to enter the madness, it starts in North Charleston.
The CAA Tournament has been good to the UNCW Seahawks over the past two seasons. The team won back-to-back titles in Baltimore and North Charleston in 2016 and 2017.
This season, things couldn’t be more different.
“Having a whole different team and coaching staff and the seeding is different,” UNCW Junior Center Devontae Cacok said. “Since I’ve been here we’ve been the one and two-seed so it’s a lot different being in that six-seed but we’re still coming in as confident as we can be.”
That confidence comes from their last meeting where the Seahawks knocked around Hofstra at home to the tune of a 20 point victory for homecoming.
A major piece of that game, and something that needs to work out again for UNCW, is Devontae Cacok controlling the game against Pride senior big man Rokas Gustys.
Getting another performance like that from Cacok is huge, but this team needs to rise to the challenge as one.
“We all have to do it together,” UNCW Senior Guard Jordon Talley said. “From the top like Devontae, all the way down to whoever doesn’t play a lot, we have to do it together. We have to buy in what coach is saying and play hard, play smart and do it together.”
The CAA Tournament is different than what Coach C.B. McGrath is used to from his years at North Carolina. The season is not guaranteed to continue. The pressure is on in every game. Win or go home.
“There’s no do-overs, you have to be ready to play each and every game,” UNCW Men’s Basketball Head Coach C.B. McGrath said. “But like I said, you can’t get to game two if you don’t play well in game one. So I guess I’m treating this tournament like the NCAA Tournament meaning if you lose, you go home, you’re done.”
Coach McGrath says he expects the energy of his team to be there come Sunday night. When the game tips off, it comes down to one thing.
“At this point, we just have to be one point better than them,” UNCW Redshirt Sophomore Ty Taylor said. “Whatever it takes to get that one point advantage to win, I’m willing to take it.”