W2W4: LIU Brooklyn vs. James Madison
March, 19, 2013
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com
Here are three things to watch for when LIU Brooklyn (20-13, 12-6 NEC) plays James Madison (20-14, 11-7 CAA) on Wednesday at Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio.
Tip-off is at 6:40 p.m., and you can watch the game on TruTV.
PRIME TIME: The bad news is, these teams were viewed among the weakest four automatic qualifiers in this year's NCAA tournament by the selection committee -- hence, they have to play an extra game just for the right to enter the main bracket of 64 teams. The winner will be a No. 16 seed, and will play East region No. 1 seed Indiana on Friday, also in Dayton.
The good news is, these two teams will play in front of the entire country Wednesday night, in a stand-alone NCAA tournament game. That's fantastic publicity for both schools.
Don't be surprised if LIU Brooklyn takes an early lead. The Blackbirds should be more comfortable, playing in their third consecutive NCAA tourney. The Dukes haven't been to the Big Dance since 1994. And they will be missing a key player at the start (see below).
HALF EMPTY: James Madison has suspended starting forward Rayshawn Goins for the first half of Wednesday's game, after Goins was arrested over the weekend.
Goins, a 6-foot-6, 265-pound senior, is the Dukes' leading scorer (12.7 ppg) and rebounder (7.4 rpg).
Other players will have to step up in Goins' absence. Three others average in double figures -- 6-6 senior guard A.J. Davis (12.1 ppg), 6-4 senior guard Devon Moore (11.6 ppg) and 6-7 senior forward Andrey Semenov (10 ppg).
The Dukes, who finished fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association but upset top seed Northeastern in the CAA championship game, aren't a particularly strong offensive team -- 234th in Division I in scoring (65.2 ppg). They're better defensively, including 60th in blocked shots per game (4.5) and 61st in steals per game (7.9).
RUN AND GUN: LIU, on the other hand, is the No. 5 scoring team in the country (79.5 ppg), and No. 2 in free throw attempts per game (26.0). The Blackbirds will look to push the pace as much as they can.
You'll enjoy watching 6-foot junior point guard Jason Brickman, the leading assist man in the country, averaging 8.5 per game. Jamal Olasewere, a 6-7 senior forward and the Northeast Conference Player of the Year, leads the team in scoring (18.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg). And 5-10 senior guard C.J. Garner averages 16.1 points per game, and averaged 28 points per game in the NEC tournament.
LIU finished tied for second in the NEC in the regular season this year -- as opposed to the past two seasons, when the Blackbirds won both the regular season and tournament championships. But they got the job done in March, and now have a great opportunity to secure the first NCAA tournament win in school history.