Richmond James Madison Basketball

NCAA Tournament Cheat Sheet: Getting to know James Madison

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Read through the rest of the Cheat Sheets here.

Conference: Colonial

Coach: Matt Brady

Record: 20-14, 11-7

Rankings and Ratings:

– Kenpom: 188
– RPI: 194
– AP/USA Today: N/A

Seeding?: Our Dave Ommen had Northeastern as a No. 16 seed in Monday’s Bracket Projection, and the Huskies have a stronger profile than JMU. It may be tough for the Dukes to get out of the play-in game without some conference tournament upsets.

Names you need to know: Rayshawn Goins (12.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg), Devon Moore (11.7 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.7 rpg), AJ Davis (11.7 ppg)

Stats you need to know: The Dukes are not a very good offensive team. They struggle shooting the ball and they are not all that good at getting to the offensive glass. But they don’t turn the ball over very much, which is a good thing. Might as well maximize the number of shots if you’re going to shoot a low-percentage.

Tendencies: JMU is, however, the best defensive team in the conference, leading the league in defensive efficiency during CAA play. The Dukes have a weird roster makeup, in that four of their top nine are seniors and four are freshmen, and while they don’t have a ton of size on the interior, Brady has a plethora of big guards at his disposal.

Big wins, bad losses: JMU won three games against Delaware and split with Towson, but didn’t pick up a notable win in non-conference play.

How’d they get here?: The No. 3 seed in the CAA tournament, JMU upset both Delaware and Northeastern to earn the league’s automatic bid. The win over the Huskies came in dominating fashion.

Outlook: James Madison has been a talented-but-underachieving team over the past couple of seasons, so it’s only fitting that in a season where they look to be down and undergoing a youth movement that Brady finally gets this group to the CAA title game. I’m not sure if they can beat a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, however.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.