James Madison (1-3) at Miami-Ohio (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Millett Hall (6,400) -- Oxford, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: JMU 0-0, Miami 1-0. Away Record: JMU 0-2, Miami 1-2. Neutral Record: JMU 1-1, Miami 0-0. Conference Record: JMU 0-0, Miami 0-0. Series Record: James Madison leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The James Madison Dukes have one more stop scheduled before their home opener as they are set to invade Millett Hall for a non-conference clash with the Miami-Ohio RedHawks.
The Dukes would really benefit from picking up another victory before heading back to Virginia. They enter this bout with a 1-3 record after enduring an embarrassing 66-44 loss to North Dakota State on Wednesday. The team opened the 2012-13 campaign with a 30-point loss to the nationally-ranked UCLA Bruins in Los Angeles before coming up just short in an overtime thriller at Duquesne. JMU managed to edge Youngstown State in the Legends Classic after Charles Cooke knocked down two decisive free throws, but then came the lopsided loss to NDSU, which finished 17-14 overall as a member of the Summit League last season. Coach Matt Brady, now in his fifth season, enters with a 68-70 overall record with the Dukes.
Miami enters just one game better on paper than the visitors with a 2-2 record after its 13-point decision over William & Mary on Wednesday. The RedHawks also defeated Grambling by 26 points earlier in the season and both of their losses came against national powers NC State (97-59) and Louisville (80-39). Coach John Cooper was unable to pull off upsets of the Wolfpack and Cardinals early on in his tenure at Miami, but he showed last season when he led Tennessee State to an upset of Murray State that he is capable of such a feat. Due to the one-sided nature of their losses, the RedHawks are averaging only 62.5 ppg on 36.1 percent shooting from the field. In the team's two wins, it has outscored its opponents by 19.5 ppg and compiled a +13.5 turnover margin.
This will be just the second meeting between these two teams on the basketball court. James Madison managed to escape the first encounter, which was part of the 2011 BracketBuster event, with a 70-69 victory.
James Madison is being outscored by an average of 13.2 ppg so far this season, as its opponents are netting 81 ppg on 52.8 percent shooting from the floor. The club's perimeter defense clearly is an issue with an allowance of nine three-pointers per contest. The Dukes had their worst shooting performance of the season the last time out, converting only 15-of-46 attempts from the floor in netting a mere 44 points. Rayshawn Goins, who had scored 20 points or more in his first three games, was held to five points after managing to connect on only 2-of-10 attempts from the field. JMU will improve as the season wears on with promising freshmen guards Charles Cooke and Andre Nation on the roster, but they are not yet ready to carry the team to the top of the Colonial Athletic Association just yet. Senior guard Devon Moore is doing a decent job keeping his teammates involved with 4.5 assists per contest, but he also has committed a team-high 13 turnovers and made just 1-of-5 attempts from long distance.
Junior guard Allen Roberts scored 20 points and forward Bill Edwards chipped in 17 points to push Miami past William & Mary the last time out. The strong play of Roberts is encouraging as he missed all of last season with a knee injury after playing in 33 games in 2010-11. Edwards, who is a serious wide- body, is averaging a career-high 10.8 ppg, in just 24.3 minutes per contest. Like the visitors, Miami also has a bright future ahead of it with freshman guard Reggie Johnson in the fold. The rookie from St. Joseph's High School in Chicago set career-highs with 20 points and five steals versus Grambling, but has totaled just 10 points and seven turnovers in the two games since. If Johnson becomes a regular scorer for the RedHawks, their guard rotation will be very hard to defend.
College basketball's home court advantage tends to have a greater impact than that of any other sport. This has been clearly exhibited by the Dukes during their slow start while on this seemingly exhausting road swing. Miami will need to be careful, however, as JMU will be playing with a chip on its shoulder after its dreadful outing on Wednesday. The key to the Dukes' turnaround will be the play of A.J. Davis, who averaged 15.9 ppg as a junior, but has shown signs of senioritis so far this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 73, James Madison 70
11/24 10:37:13 ET