Aug 27, 2013, 4:06 PM EDT
Returning to action following the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance in 19 years, James Madison men’s basketball announced its 14-game non-conference schedule for the months of November and December on Tuesday.
The schedule will challenge the Dukes with eight road contests to go with two home dates as well as four neutral-site bouts. The home games include a Nov. 19 return game of a 2011-12 BracketBusters game vs. Detroit (20-13 last year) as well as a Dec. 30 game against Ball State (15-15).
Of the 12 games contested away from the Convocation Center, three will still provide ideal opportunities for in-state fans to attend with road games at Virginia (23-12) and Richmond (19-15) to go with participation in the 2013 Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic against Hampton (14-17) as the Dukes return to the site of their CAA Championship at the Richmond Coliseum.
“The quality of the schedule is really good,” noted sixth-year head coach Matt Brady. “There are a lot of challenges within the schedule for our team, and certainly we’re a young team. So we’re going to fight really hard to try to develop some chemistry early while fighting through some adversity. I think if we can come out of this with a winning record in the non-conference schedule, it really bodes well for our team moving forward.”
The defending CAA champions will officially tip off the season on Friday, Nov. 8 at the John Paul Jones Arena against Virginia. It will be just the second meeting in the last 30 years between the programs, the first since 2003.
One week later, the Dukes embark to DeKalb, Illinois for the first of two tournament events. JMU will face host Northern Illinois (5-25) on Nov. 15 followed by additional games at NIU vs. Milwaukee (8-24) and San Jose State (9-20).
After JMU returns for the Detroit home contest on Nov. 19, the Dukes hit the road again for games Nov. 23 at defending Horizon League regular season champion Valparaiso (26-8), Nov. 27 at Winthrop (14-17) and Nov. 30 at Richmond (19-15).
As the calendar rolls to December, Madison takes on its second tournament event with the Etech Lumberjack Classic in Nacogdoches, Texas. The Dukes battle defending Southland Conference regular season champion and event host Stephen F. Austin (27-5) on Dec. 6 and Sam Houston State (17-17) on Dec. 7.
James Madison will make consecutive trips to the Greensboro, N.C. area with a Dec. 14 game at High Point (17-14) and a Dec. 18 game at UNCG (9-22). As announced two years ago, the Dukes will participate in the second year of the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic with a Dec. 21 game against Hampton as part of a doubleheader with a VCU game against Virginia Tech. The non-conference slate will wrap up with the Ball State game on Dec. 30.
The slate presents many unknown opponents for the Dukes with five games as the first-ever meeting between the programs. Those first-time opponents include NIU, Milwaukee, Valparaiso, Sam Houston State and Ball State. Five other games will be the second meeting all-time, including San Jose State (77-68 win in 2012-13), Detroit (82-70 loss in 2011-12), Winthrop (71-61 win 2012-13), Stephen F. Austin (last met 1987) and High Point (last met 2004).
The Dukes went 21-15 in 2012-13 and captured the CAA championship as the No. 3 seed. JMU went on to defeat LIU Brooklyn in the NCAA First Four for the program’s first NCAA win in 30 years. Seven newcomers join key returning sophomores Ron Curry, Charles Cooke, Andre Nation and Taylor Bessick. The program will also welcome back sixth-year graduate student Andrey Semenov after missing most of last season due to injuries.
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