Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#663 James Madison 147.5 vs.
#664 Towson -8
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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#663 James Madison University
#664 Towson University
8-9
9-9
6-10
9-8
11-5
8-8-1
74
70
76
66

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This article covers a past game!

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Towson (3-3 CAA) hosts James Madison (1-5 CAA) on Saturday at 2pmET from SECU Arena at 2pmET. The Tigers have won three straight, while the Dukes are on a three-game losing streak. Both teams were able to watch the other CAA squads play on Thursday as they were given the week off.

James Madison took two of three games against the Tigers last season, including a 74-73 win in the first round of the CAA Tournament last season.

Trying to get back in form

JMU has just one win in the CAA and it took place on Jan. 2 against UNCW (64-60). The Seahawks fired their coach not too long after that (C.B. McGrath) and you have to wonder how much longer Louis Rowe will remain in Harrisonburg considering he owns a 42-73 record. His Dukes dropped their third straight game and second straight at home to Drexel last Saturday, 78-71. Guard Matt Lewis (18.1ppg, 5.8rpg) led the Dukes with 24 points on 8-of-19 shooting, but received little help from the rest of the team.

James Madison shot just 36% from the floor and turned the ball over 15 times. Drexel shot 45% from the floor and turned it over 15 times as well, but they shot 11-of-27 from beyond the arc (41%). They also outrebounded the Dukes by three.

JMU has size and athleticism so it's tough to figure this team out. They average 74.6 points per game on 42.7% shooting (32.5% 3pt). Shooting is a major issue, especially at the free throw line, where they rank 340th in the nation (62.4%). They aren't very good defensively, as they allow 76.4 points per game on 42.4% shooting. They rank 276th on KenPom and 314th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They also play at the 23rd-ranked pace in the nation with 76.0 possessions per game.

Wait a minute

Towson beat UNCW 67-60 on Jan. 4 in a game that broke a three-game losing streak. There was very little that was impressive about the win, as the Tigers turned the ball over 15 times and shot 43% from the floor on the road against the worst team in the league. However, when the Tigers got back home and faced Delaware and Drexel, they exploded for 89 points against the Dragons and 84 against the Blue Hens this past Saturday.

The offense still ranks pretty low (167th KenPom), but at least things are starting to break. Sophomore guard Allen Betrand has become the team's most reliable player, who had 18 against the Blue Hens. The Tigers don't have to rely on senior guard Brian Fobbs anymore. Fobbs still leads the team in scoring with 15.7 points per game, but is shooting just 41.3% from the field and 27.4% from beyond the arc. Betran adds 13.9 points on 41.4% three-point shooting (44.4% FG). He was also named CAA Player of the Week.

Towson averages 70.2 points per game on 42.6% shooting (32.3% 3pt). They allow 66.8 points per game on 41.2% shootign (31.8% 3pt). They outrebound teams by an average of 4.0 per game.

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If Towson doesn't have any motivation, head coach Pat Skerry will remind them about what took place last season, when JMU took two of three games and ended their season in the CAA Tournament. JMU can be dangerous as Lewis is one of the most talented players in the CAA, but he's not efficient. The entire team is not efficient. They do love to run, while Towson runs a pretty methodical offense that ranks 295th in pace of play. They'll run when it's available, but overall, their depth and confidence is just at a much higher plane right now. Take the Tigers.

Prediction: Towson -8

Full-Game Total Pick

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These are pretty opposite teams in terms of pace of play. But Towson is really playing well on offense. They are making shots, but also moving the ball well and running when they have a chance. The Dukes will run early and often and attempt to push the pace by pressing. Towson will break the press and turn many possessions into easy baskets on the other end. They've gone over in two straight games, while the Dukes have gone over in two of three games.

Prediction: Over 148.5
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!