Via JMU Sports Blog
Our buddy Bio picked every game of the CAA tournament correctly along. So did one other contestant. But one of the tie-breakers, “which guy actually responds to our email about winning the contest?” went Bio’s way. Here’s his take on why the Dukes can pull off an upset. Follow him here and enjoy the tourney.
JMU is a 16 seed. Excluding the play-in game, a 16-seed has never won a game in the NCAA Tournament. In 1996, Western Carolina came close missed a three-pointer to win in the final seconds, losing 73-71 to Purdue. If JMU can survive against LIU-Brooklyn, they will face Indiana. Indiana has 2 likely lottery picks and offensive and defensive efficiency ratings in the top 20. IU is not a bad pick to take the title. It will be tough sledding.
In the NCAA tournament, there is a common formula for success. Take care of the ball, play good defense and rebound. JMU takes care of the ball. They averaged only 11 turnovers per game, which is good enough for #22 in the NCAA. Their turnover margin ranked #32. Guard play is a strength of this team. The Dukes started 3 different players at point guard this season. They can handle the ball and break a press.
The Dukes are excellent defenders. Don’t believe me? Ask Brian Mull of the Star News (Wilmington, NC) He knows more about CAA basketball than anyone. JMU has quick, players with long wingspans. They get theirs hands in the passing lanes and disrupt offenses. They average 8 steals a game.
JMU is undersized. Apologies to Rayshawn Goins, they are not particularly good rebounders. If you have every played basketball at a competitive level, you know that rebounding often comes down to hustle, effort and “who wants it more”. JMU can control how well they rebound. If they focus on it, they can improve greatly in a short time.
The wild card in the tourney is senior leadership. Battle tested, senior led squads often outperform ultra-talented groups of youngster. The tournament rewards experience. It rewards character. The seniors, Devon Moore, AJ Davis and Rayshawn Goins stepped up throughout the CAA tournament. Whenever the game was on the line, they made plays.
Why can JMU advance in the tournament? Because Valpo. Because Bucknell. Because Lehigh. Because Norfolk State. Because Santa Clara….Because its March.
Photo courtesy of jmusports.com
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