UCLA continues their schedule Thursday night against teams that finished 2011-12 12-20, as James Madison University Dukes had the same record as the UCI Anteaters in 2011-12. However, I do not think JMU is as good of a team. While UCI had some injuries to overcome, they lost no returning players. JMU is losing their leader and spark plug. I do not think JMU plays in as good of a league and unlike UCI will be playing their first game of the year against UCLA.
JMU just does not have much going for it. If you want to look at the likely lineup for JMU, here we go:
JMU star player is returning leader scorer A.J. Davis. AJ is a red shirt senior having transferred from Wyoming. He is listed as a guard but is 6'6". He did lead JMU in steals with 1.7 per game. He is not a particular good shooter hitting 43% from the field and 33% of his average 5 three attempts a game. But he is the Dukes only representative on the Colonial Athletic Association's Preseason all-conference Team:
Senior A.J. Davis (Columbus, Ohio/Harmony Community), JMU's top returning-scorer, was named to the preseason All-CAA Second Team in his final season with the Dukes. The 6-6 guard averaged 15.9 points per game to finish fourth in the CAA, including a career-high 30-point performance against Delaware on Feb. 4 during his junior season. On the defensive end, Davis tied for seventh in the league with an average of 1.7 steals per game. He owns the second-place slot in JMU record books for season steals, having committed 54 thefts during the 2011-12 campaign.
JMU is only picked to finish fifth in the CAA. I guess on the plus side for the Dukes they are old, starting five seniors, including 4 red shirt seniors. Joining Davis in his red shirt senior season is Andrey Semenov. Semenov led a poor rebounding JMU team but really fits the old model of European bigs who are more comfortable on the outside. Semenov shot an impressive 44% from 3 but only 43% from inside the arc.
Yet another redshirt senior Rayshawn Goins joins Semenov on the front line. Goins is the Dukes only true inside player in the starting lineup. Goines was playing D-II before transferring to JMU and then got hurt missing all last season. Goines injury certainly hurt the weak rebounding Dukes as he is their best player inside. Thus JMU frontline is 6'6", 6'7", and 6'6", UCLA should be able to beat up on JMU inside.
The next starter for JMU is also a red-shirt senior and the point guard Devon Moore. Moore is very experienced. Unfortunately for JMU fans he gets worse every year. At one point he was a Bob Cousy award listee; now he is not even mentioned in CAA pre-season all conference teams. His shooting percentage has dropped from 50% his freshman year to 42% last year, although he was not eligible until December 19 last year. He is 6'4".
The last starter is the baby of the group only a fourth year senior Alioune Diouf. Diouf has been consistently unspectacular in his career, never scoring in double figures or shooting over 38%.
While the 5 starters for JMU range in height from 6'4" to 6'7" they do have some height off the bench in redshirt Senior 6'11" Gene Swindle and 6'9" Enoch Hoch. They also have a young backup point guard of the athletic Curry family in Ron Curry, unfortunately for JMU it is the football playing Ronald Curry of the Philadelphia Eagles.
GMU was a poor shooting and rebound team that went 10-20 in a bad conference. They are veterans who start 5 seniors (4 red shirt seniors) but besides age UCLA has every advantage.