Mount St. Mary's (19-13) at James Madison (19-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 18th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: JMU Convocation Center (7,612) -- Harrisonburg, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Mount St. Mary's 12-2, JMU 8-4. Away Record: Mount St. Mary's 7-11, JMU 7-6. Neutral Record: Mount St. Mary's 0-0, JMU 4-4. Conference Record: Mount St. Mary's 12-6, JMU 9-9. Series Record: James Madison leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: First round action in the inaugural CollegeInsider.com Tournament will take place this evening when the James Madison Dukes host the Mount St. Mary Mountaineers at the JMU Convocation Center. The Mountaineers saw their season come to a crashing end with a 48-46 heartbreaking loss to Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference Championship game. Despite the loss, Mount St. Mary's still finished with 19 victories, which is tied for the second most in the team's history since joining the Division I ranks back in 1988-89. This is the fifth postseason appearance for the Mount since jumping up, and the team's second in as many years. The Mountaineers are just 1-4 in those tournaments, with the lone win coming last year against Coppin State (69-60) in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. As for the Dukes, this will be their first postseason appearance since 1994 when the team was downed by Florida in the NCAA Tournament. The Dukes have also struggled in postseason play however, recording just a 3-9 mark in nine previous appearances. This season James Madison tallied 19 victories, but comes into this tournament with five losses in its last eight games. The Dukes have dominated the Mountaineers in the all-time series, winning five of the six matchups, including an 85-73 victory over Mount St. Mary's in 2007.
If the Mountaineers are going to be successful in this tournament the team will need to rely on its tough defensive play. The Mount comes into this event limiting opponents to just 62.8 ppg, on a weak 41.8 percent shooting effort. The Mountaineers have also held teams to just 33.5 percent shooting from long range, and have collected 221 steals on the season. At the other end of the floor the team is being paced by Jeremy Goode, who is averaging 15.0 ppg. Goode is also dishing out 4.1 apg, and has collected a team-high 61 steals. Jean Cajou is contributing 12.9 ppg on the year, while Kelly Beidler has been strong in the paint, posting 11.1 ppg, to go along with a team-best 6.9 rpg. As a whole, the Mountaineers head into this matchup shooting a healthy 45.3 percent from the floor, but that has led to a pedestrian 68.2 ppg.
The Dukes' play offensively is what will lead them to victory in this tournament. James Madison currently has four players averaging double figures, with Juwann James leading the way. James has only played in 22 games, while starting in three of those matchups, but the forward is solid when on the floor, netting 15.0 ppg, to go along with 5.1 rpg. Kyle Swanston is contributing 11.7 ppg, despite shooting 39.8 percent from the floor, while Julius Wells is posting 11.5 ppg, to go along with a team-best 5.5 rpg. Devon Moore is chipping in 10.2 ppg, and has dished out 87 assists, but the guard is also leading the team with 93 turnovers. At the other end of the floor the team is allowing 68.5 ppg, and although foes are shooting 42.4 percent against James Madison, the Dukes have done a solid job around the perimeter, holding opponents to a weak 30.8 percent shooting display from long range.
The Dukes have been mediocre at best this year, and although the squad is playing home, the Mountaineers' defensive approach should be too much for James Madison to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Mount St. Mary's 68, James Madison 65
03/18 10:22:20 ET