UNC-Wilmington (9-20) vs. James Madison (12-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 2nd, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Richmond Coliseum (11,992) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: UNCW 5-8, JMU 5-9. Away Record: UNCW 4-12, JMU 5-9. Neutral Record: UNCW 0-0, JMU 2-1. Conference Record: UNCW 5-13, JMU 5-13. Series Record: UNCW leads, 32-29.
GAME NOTES: The Colonial Athletic Association tournament kicks off today in Richmond, with the No. 8 seed James Madison Dukes set to do battle with the ninth-seeded UNC Wilmington Seahawks at Richmond Coliseum.
The Dukes snapped a three-game skid with a 65-59 win over Towson last Saturday, ending their 2011-12 campaign on a high note. Still, JMU was among the bottom four teams the CAA had to offer for much of the season, and the club compiled a lackluster 12-19 overall record. Still, the win against Towson lifted the squad to 5-13 in league play, and put the Dukes in a tie for eighth-place with these same Seahawks. JMU claimed the tiebreaker thanks to a 70-61 verdict over UNCW back in January.
As for UNCW, the Seahawks didn't fare very well themselves in 2011-12, as the squad had just nine wins scattered throughout the entire campaign. The regular season concluded with the Seahawks in the midst of a six-game slide, and the club had the added misfortune of being on the losing end of a 93-64 rout at Hofstra last weekend.
UNCW holds a 32-29 edge over JMU in terms of the all-time series between the two foes.
The winner of today's affair advances to Saturday's quarterfinal round, and will face top-seeded Drexel.
UNCW came out cold right from the start against Hofstra, as the Seahawks failed to come away with points during their first three possessions. A meager 36.0 percent mark from the field during the first period of play opened a 45-25 halftime advantage for the Pride, and UNCW never really got any closer. The Seahawks were outscored by a 48-39 margin over the final 20 minutes, but went just 39.4 percent from the field during that time as well. On the other hand, Hofstra shot at a blistering 56.6 percent clip overall, and forced the Seahawks into a game-high 15 miscues to boot. Keith Rendleman scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the way for UNCW, while Tanner Milson checked in from off the bench to log 11 points. On the year, Rendleman has paced the squad with 15.6 points to go with 10.5 rebounds per contest. He is joined in double figures by only Adam Smith, who checks in with 14.0 ppg. The Seahawks averaged an underwhelming 65.4 ppg this year, shooting at a meager 41.8 percent clip that included just 32.6 percent from three-point land as a team. The Seahawks have been responsible for 14.0 turnovers per contest as well this season, and have allowed their adversaries to net a solid 71.4 ppg.
The Dukes shot just 40.0 percent from the floor in the win over Towson, a mark that included a meager 5-of-24 effort from long range. The difference in the game came at the foul line, where JMU made good on 20 of its 29 chances, compared to a paltry 9-for-21 effort by the Tigers. Still, the Dukes did force a game-high 12 turnovers during the meeting, and edged out Towson on the glass by a 35-34 mark, limiting the Tigers to just nine offensive boards. Andrey Semenov scored 12 points and collected nine rebounds to lead the way for JMU, while Enoch Hood chipped in 11 points from off the bench in the win. The Dukes averaged just 66.3 points per game during their regular season run, a lackluster total that becomes more glaring due to the 69.8 ppg the club awarded to the opposition. JMU shot just 42.2 percent as a team on the year, hitting only 36.8 percent of its chances from beyond the arc in the process to go with struggles at the charity stripe that saw the Dukes net only 67.0 percent of their free throws. A.J. Davis, with a 16.2 ppg mark, leads the way for JMU in scoring. Humpty Hitchens follows, netting 15.0 ppg to go with a team-leading 108 assists, while Semenov rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with a solid 10.3 ppg contribution.
Go with the Dukes in this one. Even when the Seahawks aren't turning the ball over, they fail to do much with it. However, the Dukes haven't exactly been the model of consistency at either end of the court themselves, so expect this to be a close, albeit sloppy, matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: James Madison 70, UNC-Wilmington 67
03/02 10:33:49 ET