Pregame Glace: James Madison

Pregame Glace: James Madison

zz The Buckeye Battlecry

Pregame Glace: James Madison

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After a rousing win over a seriously overmatched Alcorn State squad, Ohio State turns to face the James Madison Dukes.  This will be the second game of the “2k Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic”.  Here’s what you need to know:

Guess the mascot.

Guess the mascot.

School: James Madison
Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia
Founded: 1908
Student Population: 17000
School Type: Private
Division: Division 1
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association
Stadium: Convocation Center
Seating: 7156
Built: 1982
Head Coach: Matt Brady
Year: 2nd

Head Coach Matt Brady is starting his second season at the helm of the Dukes.  His first season was a rousing success, as he lead his team to a 21-15 overall record, their first winning season since the 1999-2000 season when they went 20-9.  That was also their 2nd highest win total in the history of the program, and the best since 1992-93.  Brady is looking to improve on that success from last season and take JMU into a major postseason tournament.

The Buckeyes will be James Madison’s first non-exhibition opponant, but some things can be gleaned from their victory over Philadelphia.  The Dukes were able to put Philly out of their misery with a 92-71 victory.  Of note were the game-high 20 points scored by freshman guard Darren White (6-3, 200) who shot 5-8 from behind the arc and 7-11 from the floor.  White comes off the bench for James Madison and really provides a spark on the offensive side of the ball.  He also played the 2nd highest minute total of anyone else on the Dukes team giving JMU some solid depth.  He does, however, possess the weakness that usually hurts young guards – turnovers.  He committed 3 in the win.

James Madison’s starters have some size.  Starting Freshman Center (He’s really a forward) Trevon Flores (6-11, 220) and Sophomore Forward Andrey Semenov (6-7, 195) round out the starting frontcourt for the Dukes.  Both are very versitile players seeming to play a style not unlike our own Nikola Kecman.  Both players hit 2-2 from 3 (each!) and went 5-9 and 5-7 from the floor respectively.  They round out the top 3 in playing time (with White) and will likely do so again against the Buckeyes.

Also in the starting lineup is Sophomore Small Forward Julius Wells (6-5, 190).  During the Philly game he sank 6-12, with 3-7 from 3, making him another dangerous element to the Dukes’ attack.  Senior Forward Matt Parker (6-8, 220) makes his mark off the bench, shooting 3-4, with 2-3 from three.

Rounding out the lineup are Senior Guard Pierre Curtis (6-3, 180) and Sophomore guard Devon Moore (6-4, 165).  Curtis is the clear leader and ball-distributor on the team, putting up 9 assists during the game.  He does not, however, take many shots going a fear-inspiring 1-3 from the floor.  Devon Moore was also not particularly productive, sinking only 2-4 and missing his only three.

As a team, James Madison shoots quite well, hitting 54% of their baskets (34-63) with a 59.3% 3-point percentage (16-27).  Those are the types of shooting numbers that can ruin a good team’s day if they don’t respond in kind.  Madison is going to spend all day moving around and trying to find the open jump-shot, and they’re not afraid to take it if you give it to them.  The man defense is going to be critical this game in trying to keep these prolific shooters in check.

JMU also rebounds pretty well on offense, grabbing 13 boards.  Ohio State defenders absolutely must grab the rebounds and prevent second chance baskets, because if it didn’t go down the first time, chances are it will the second.  However, one thing the Dukes aren’t particularly good at is grabbing the Defensive boards, picking up only 10 against Philadelphia.

I expect the Buckeyes are going to try to keep the tempo high and wear out the JMU shooters.  While we have the team to compete in a literal shooting match it’s always a better idea to not play to the strengths of the opponent – especially when you enjoy an embarrassment of riches in the strengths department.

The game will be played at Value City Arena tomorrow night (Thursday, November 12th) at 7:00 pm.  You will be able to see the game on the Big Ten Network.

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