Tiny Dancers: James Madison

After going 19 seasons without an NCAA tournament appearance, James Madison is dancing. (USATSI)
After going 19 seasons without an NCAA tournament appearance, James Madison is dancing. (USATSI)

Heading into the CAA tournament, there was some talk James Madison head coach Matt Brady could potentially be in some trouble for his job. Well, I think he’s sticking around now.

The Dukes upset top-seeded Northeastern on Monday night, getting out to an early lead and never looking back en route to a 70-57 win. A.J. Davis had 26 points, while Rayshawn Goins pitched in with 14 points and 13 boards. They also held Northeastern guard Joel Smith to just six points before fouling out.

James Madison has been in an NCAA tournament drought since 1994, and the Dukes had only won one CAA tournament. With plenty of talent at the top of the roster, though, Brady guided this team to a 7-3 start in league play and nabbed the No. 3 seed at the tournament. After they came back against Delaware in the final 30 seconds in the semifinals, it was clear the Dukes were a true threat to head to the NCAA tournament.

It’s a senior-laden roster that is looking to make one last memory before moving on.

Player to know: A.J. Davis. The 6-foot-6 senior guard is playing his best basketball of the season. In the regular season finale, the former Wyoming transfer put up 36 points in a win over William & Mary, and then put 20 on the Tribe in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament. After getting 16 against Delaware, he went for 26 points and seven rebounds in the championship game. Davis uses his size to create matchup problems with opposing perimeter players, and he can also knock down perimeter shots.

The Vitals:

  • Record: 20-14 overall, 11-7 in CAA
  • Most recent tournament appearance: 1994
  • Jerry Palm predicts: 16
  • KenPom ranking: 188
  • Sagarin ranking: 180
  • RPI: 190
  • Best wins: Northeastern, Delaware (twice)
  • Worst losses: Hampton, Miami (Ohio)
  • Notable stat: James Madison doesn’t cough it up very often. The Dukes rank No. 25 in the country in lowest turnover percentage, and No. 22 in turnovers per game -- giving it up just 11 times per game. Having a guard like Devon Moore, who can be a playmaker without being too loose with the ball, is a huge plus.

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