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Previewing JMU...

George Mason Basketball: Previewing JMU...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Previewing JMU...

The Patriots are rolling so far but can they keep the pace against a very confident James Madison squad? The Mason-Madison rivalry is old and while the Patriots have been dominating lately let me say that this isn't your father's Dukes squad. Their young talent is finally starting to mature and they have already put up some impressive road wins so far. Kathy Orton of the WaPo seems to think this is a "trap" game. But if you think Coach L's players are looking past any team in the CAA, then you don't know Coach L's style. Especially after the battle W&M gave the Patriots on Wednesday night it would be hard to think that they would look past any opponent from here on out.

JMU has had no trouble putting up points this year and has the second best FG% in the conference. I'd say their offensive fire-power is pretty even with Mason's but their defense is another story. Mason's defensive effort will have to be the difference if they want to win this one. If it comes down to free-throws the Patriots could be in trouble as JMU leads the CAA in that territory. They have no trouble getting to the line and have three players shooting over 80% from there. Like the Patriots, they do not turn the ball over much but have had trouble rebounding. They rank dead last in offensive rebounds in the CAA. Can Pearson, Monroe, and Birdsong capitalize on this?

The Dukes are led by Juwann James and Kyle Swantson who have been shooting extremely well so far this year. James doesn't even start but he leads the team in scoring despite playing only about 25 minutes a game. His efforts off the bench and the surprise play of freshman Devon Moore have been the backbone to the Dukes early success. Speaking of PG Devon Moore, a JMU blogger thinks he might not be able to go Saturday. Moore's absence would be a great advantage for the Patriots as he has been running the floor so far this season for the Dukes. He averaged 10.3 pts and 5 assists in three games last week as CAA rookie of the week. They will match-up pretty well with the Patriots but I think Louis Birdsong and Ryan Pearson could be the x-factors in this one. Monroe will no doubt be getting a lot of attention and if Pearson and Birdsong can score down low effectively the Dukes might not have an answer. My hope is that the Patriots defense forces the tempo to be more of a grind-it-out kind of game; something the Dukes aren't built for.



Blogger Vallance said...

I agree with you blogger. pearson and birdsong will definitely be the x-factors. we are pretty even on height and size with their forwards. our guards will have to create problems for their guards by playing hard defense. it will be close but hopefully we walk away the winner.

11:23 AM  
Blogger C Hirsch said...

Man, just checked out JMU on and was surprised at how well they are playing this year. I assumed this would be a victory, but they will probably give us a game.

I remember Orientation and being told JMU was our rival, no reason was really given, and JMU doesn't even consider us a rival. Our true rival right now is VCU.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there will be a way to watch the game online? Thanks

9:27 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

10:25 AM  
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