As of Monday, March 18, 2013
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Preview: James Madison vs. LIU Brooklyn
LIU Brooklyn is no stranger to the rigors of March as it begins its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. While the Blackbirds have been turned away the previous two times by a pair of the nation's elite programs, they should have a better opportunity to nail down their first NCAA tournament victory in school history Wednesday in a first-round matchup against James Madison in Dayton, Ohio. In its first two tournament appearances, LIU Brooklyn has exited quickly thanks to second-round games against North Carolina in 2011 and Michigan State in 2012.
The Blackbirds, who clinched an automatic berth by virtue of their victory over Mount Saint Mary's in the Northeast Conference tournament title game, enter this round of 68 with the No. 5 scoring offense in the country at 79.5 points and tied for eighth in shooting (48.3 percent). The Dukes are on a four-game winning streak after capturing their second Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship. James Madison is seeking its first tournament win since bowing out in the second round three straight years from 1981-83.
TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, truTV
ABOUT JAMES MADISON (20-14): The Dukes are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1994 and fifth time in school history. James Madison received the bulk of its offense from A.J. Davis and Devon Moore - the team's second- and third-leading scorers - during the conference tournament as they combined for 105 of the team's 200 points. Leading scorer Rayshawn Goins enjoyed his best performance in the title game since missing a game Feb. 6 with a foot injury, shooting 6-for-10 with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Over his previous eight games, Goins averaged 9.1 points and 5 rebounds, but converted only 30.1 percent of his field-goal attempts.
ABOUT LIU BROOKLYN (20-13): The Blackbirds overcame a number of obstacles to claim their third consecutive NEC crown as four players were suspended for their role in a fight this fall and reigning league player of the year Julian Boyd tore his anterior cruciate ligament in December. "Everything went right the last two years and this year they had to show their true colors," first-year coach Jack Perri said following the team's 91-70 victory over Mount Saint Mary's. Northeast Conference Player of the Year Jamal Olasewere is the Blackbirds' all-time career scoring leader with 1,851 points and ranks fourth in school history with 953 rebounds.
Northeast Conference tournament MVP C.J. Garner (16.1 points) averaged 28 during LIU Brooklyn's three-game run in the conference tournament.
Coach Matt Brady has directed James Madison to three 20-win seasons in his five years, two more than the school posted since its last CAA title.
Perri became the third first-year coach to guide his team to the NEC tournament title.
PREDICTION: LIU Brooklyn 78, James Madison 70