First Four preview: James Madison vs. LIU-Brooklyn prediction, TV info
LIU-Brooklyn will try to make Wednesday's First Four matchup against James Madison a track meet, while the Dukes hope to slow the pace. The team that controls the tempo will likely advance to face Indiana in the Round of 64.
Game time: Wednesday, 6:40 p.m. ET (TruTV)
Why we're watching: If James Madison can replicate its performance from the CAA final, the Dukes might put on a show for a nationally-televised audience on Wednesday night in Dayton. Matt Brady’s team raced to a 26-6 lead against Northeastern and led 40-18 at the half before holding on for a 13-point win. The Dukes are returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 19 seasons. Before the win over the Huskies, James Madison’s previous seven games were decided by five points or less. LIU-Brooklyn is also coming off a superlative display in its conference tournament final. After falling behind 28-25 in the first half to local rival Mount St. Mary’s in the NEC finals, the Blackbirds outscored the Mountaineers 66-42 for the remainder of the game. With the victory, LIU captured the NEC tournament title for a school-record third consecutive season.
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Players to watch: The status of Rayshawn Goins, the Dukes’ powerfully built senior forward, is in question after he was reportedly charged on Sunday night with misdemeanor obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct. Goins, 6-6, 265, has posted nine double-doubles in 2012-13, including a 14-point, 13-rebound effort in the CAA championship game. Goins is complemented by senior Devon Moore, a heady point guard and tight perimeter defender. Moore, who ranks third on James Madison in points (11.6 per game), has recovered from a serious knee injury suffered early in his career. Julian Boyd, the Blackbirds’ top player, is out for the season with a torn ACL. LIU still has a pair of explosive scorers in senior forward Jamal Olasewere (18.9 points per game) and senior guard C.J. Garner. In the victory over Mount St. Mary’s, Garner finished with a career-high 31 points on just 17 field goal attempts. The duo will be set up by junior guard Jason Brickman, the nation’s leader in assists (8.5 per game).
Key to the game: Tempo. The Blackbirds, who rank fifth in Division I in scoring (79.5 per game), will look to get out and run. LIU, however, is anemic on defense, ranking 335th in scoring defense and 325th in defensive field goal percentage (46.8). If Goins is cleared to play, the Dukes could look to slow the pace and take advantage of a mismatch inside.
Prediction: LIU-Brooklyn 72, James Madison 71
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